Boston Debate League

Volunteer Season Wrap-Up

January 6, 2023 | By Kelly Cody

Volunteer Highlights of the First Half of the Debate Season!

As the first half of our 2022-2023 debate season comes to a close, BDL staff would argue that volunteers and community partners are more important than coffee (don’t contest us – we’re the debate experts).

Tournament Cheer!

So far this school year, over 275 members of the Boston Community have served as volunteers! Providing sage insight, guidance, and feedback to debaters on this season’s topic of emerging technologies, judges have participated at four BDL tournaments and three scrimmages. To get statistical, that’s over 574 debate rounds, and ~861 hours of debate, impacting over 982 debaters.

Of the four tournaments, two were career-related affinity tournaments, engaging legal and STEM professional organizations from the Boston Area. These events highlighted the experiences and career paths of experts in those respective fields.

The STEM Affinity Tournament also debuted BDL’s first ever networking session! During this session, volunteers and debaters mingled in “mingle bingo”, collaborated on business cards for dream occupations, fine-tuned interview elevator pitches, and asked pertinent questions to a panel of STEM professionals. A special thanks to Ola Dada (Amazon) for serving as BDL’s STEM Affinity Tournament Speaker and Laura Lang (Santander), Jake LoRocco (IBM), and Philippe Felix (Amazon) for serving as panelists.

Mentors, Translators, and More – Oh My!

In addition to our judge volunteers, 16 tournament staff volunteers have worked diligently behind-the-scenes ensuring tournaments run smoothly. Serving directly at after-school debate practices, eight fabulous volunteer debate mentors collaborate season-long with coaches and debaters. Three volunteer translators collaborate with staff monthly, translating BDL written materials, ensuring widespread accessibility to the Spanish-speaking community!

Volunteer Partners

A big thank you to all of our volunteer partners who have supported tournaments so far this season:

Amazon, Babson College Black Student Union & The Johnson House, Babson College Speech & Debate Society, Boston Cares, Boston University Debate Society, Boston University’s Rhetoric Department, First Republic Bank, Boston University’s BPS Community Service Scholars, John Hancock, Life Science Cares, Mass Black Lawyers Association, Moderna, New England Law Boston, Northeastern University Black Law Student Association, Northeastern University Community Liaisons for Education Using STEM, Northeastern University Service Learning, Santander, State Street, Suffolk University, Suffolk University Black Law Students Association, Tufts Debate Society, Wellington Management, Vertex, ZS Cares


Thank You & Happy New Year!

That’s a wrap! Hope to see you and the rest of the volunteer community during the second half of the debate season. Want to be a part of our volunteer community? Check out our Volunteer Page.