Thank you for your interest in volunteering with the Denver Urban Debate League. Academic Debate is life changing for the students, but you can benefit too:
Empower a young person
Serve as a conscientious educator
Use your professional skills to support future leaders
Improve your professional network working with other judges
Academic service learning opportunity
Give back to your community
Build camaraderie with your team/group
Without our volunteers, DUDL would not be able to offer our life-changing programs at no cost to our students. DUDL cannot run our competitions without the support of our volunteers. Having volunteer judges and tournament support staff, and guest speakers saves costs for our small non-profit organization and that allows us to serve more students. We hope you will continue to support the league by judging this year and helping us recruit additional volunteers. .
To volunteer with us you do not need any prior experience in any debate or speech event, we will train you. All we ask is for your time, and we look forward to hearing from you soon.
Time Commitment: 2-20 hours. Each debate round is ~ 2 hours long. Judges are not required to stay for an entire day, but must stay for the entirety of the round they are scheduled for.
Training: New judge training is held for an hour during the first round of the first day of the tournament at the tournament site. Any judge that is new to the league, regardless of prior debate experience, is required to attend new judge orientation. We are in the process of creating helpful videos to support your training. Please see the tournament schedule for specific times. Prior debate experience is not necessary.
Responsibilities: Each debate round happens between two teams of two students each, thus with four students. Many debate rounds, therefore, happen simultaneously throughout the site in many classrooms. Each Preliminary Round requires one judge. The judge listens to the debate, keeps time, takes careful notes, then immediately after the round the judge completes an official ballot, naming a winning team and assigning speaker points to each debater. The judge offers a brief oral critique as well, to both teams, in addition to a brief written analysis of the debate on the ballot which is eventually read by the students and coaches. The Oral critique should focus on areas where the debaters can improve. A good critic’s comments are aimed at the substance of the argumentation and its structure, not at a speaker’s attire, speech pattern, or accent.
Time Commitment: 1-20 hours. Each speech round is 1 hour long. Judges are not required to stay for the entire day, but must stay for the entirety of the round they are scheduled for.
Training: No training is required for speech judges. A short instructional sheet for all speech events are included in the Judges' Manual. Simply review this before the round and then have fun! You and the students will greatly enjoy these events. If you would like to study the manual beforehand, visit the Volunteer Page on our website or email firstname.lastname@example.org for the manual.
Responsibilities: Judging speech events requires no previous debate knowledge. You may be required to judge Impromptu, Dramatic Interpretation, Original Interpretation, Original Oratory/Informative Speaking, or a combination of different events throughout the day. All events have a one page document of instructions located in the judges’ manual. The judge will fill out a ballot ranking each competitor and assigning speaker points. Instructions are provided.
Training: Orientation on site ½ hour before your shift begins. Prior debate experience is not necessary
Responsibilities: This position works with the DUDL Staff to help the registration table register, direct, and instruct volunteers; includes collecting and running ballots to the tab room. Volunteers may also be asked to help with meal distribution and supervision, and to otherwise help support operational administration of the event.
Time Commitment: This will vary depending on the event. More information will be given with the specific event.
Training: You will need to have prior experience in speech and/or debate; diversity, equity, & inclusion; public speaking; coaching; speech writing; or any other related topics.
Responsibilities: Our fall workshop has break out labs for the students to learn and improve their skills for the season. We always welcome support from anyone that is willing to lead any of these sessions for the students. Newer coaches would also appreciate training and support during these days to help prepare them for the upcoming season. Throughout the year, there are also opportunities to give presentations during practices and smaller workshops. Contact sarahirsch @urbandebate.org for more information on specific opportunities.
If you are serving as a debate judge, it might be helpful to have legal pads, colored pens, and a timer that has the ability to count down.
At the tournament:
Please report to the registration table/online meeting room at least 15 minutes prior to your scheduled shift.
Meals will be provided for all volunteers at in-person events. Snacks and beverages will be available at all times in the designated judges lounge.
You are also always welcome to sit with the students in the cafeteria between debate rounds. This can be an excellent opportunity for informal mentoring. Evidence shows that these informal venues for imparting information about college admissions, scholarship and payment, and career advice can be more effective than formal “orientation” meetings or presentations towards achieving common objectives of “college bridge” programming aimed at youth.
Sign up for Upcoming Tournaments
Please sign up for a shift even if you cannot stay for the entirety of that shift! Just email email@example.com to clarify your availability.
Please make sure you select "Denver" under the Debate League tab when you sign up.
University of Denver, Sturm College of Law. 2255 East Evans Avenue Suite 406, Denver, CO 80210
Executive Director, Jessica Clark JessicaClark@urbandebate.org Phone: 303-871-6575