The Penn State Speech & Debate Society participates in a variety of competition formats. For debate, students compete in British parliamentary debate and Lincoln-Douglas debate. British Parliamentary debate is an extemporaneous form of debate, chiefly housed under the United States Universities Debating Association (USUDA). Lincoln-Douglas debate is a one-on-one format under the purview of the National Forensic Association (NFA).
Students also compete in individual speech events (IE’s). These events include limited preparation events (extemporaneous and impromptu speaking), public address events (e.g. persuasive speaking), and oral interpretation events (e.g. Dramatic Interpretation). IE’s are housed under the National Forensic Association. At the end of the year, qualifying students have the opportunity to compete at the national NFA tournament in April, which is hosted at Ohio University in 2015.
Members of the society are expected to share the skills that they learn in competition with their fellow society members at open practices. Intercollegiate competition not only provides an outlet for dedicated members of the Speech & Debate Society to practice their skills, but it also allows the Society to generate ideas and learn from other competitors across the country.