Hazardous waste, pirates among topics

Nathan Carter

Last weekend, the Missouri Southern Debate Team added their last two members to its list of the National Forensics Society’s (NFS) national qualifiers.

“You have to get to an elimination round sometime during the course of the tournament schedule to qualify,” said Dr. Kelly Larson, debate coach.

Students say it is no easy task. It has taken Valerie Melton, sophomore public relations major, 10 tries to finally get on this year’s list.

“This tournament was really important to me personally because it was the last tournament that I could qualify to nationals,” Melton said.

“The tournament was determining whether or not this would be the end of the season for me. It was quite a bit of pressure.”

Debate teams around the country are given a topic by the NFS to research for the season. This year’s topic was the federal government’s financial increase to assist the Greater Horn of Africa. Three topics to argue included human rights development, economic assistance, and public health.

“The U.S. exports lots of electronic waste,” explained Melton. “We put a plan together to stop the exportation of hazardous waste to those 10 countries.”

The team has also pieced together a plan to stop pirates off the coast of Africa who have attacked food aid ships. The plan is to use the U.S. Navy’s resources to “interject” pirate ships.

The NFS National Debate tournament will be held the second week of April at Tennessee State University in Nashville. The team has “nobody left to qualify” as of now, and plan to reorganize the schedule and backload tournaments as practice before finals.