Are you very passionate about whether or not a hot dog is a sandwich or if water is actually wet? If so, the Pointless Debate Club may be an RSO for you!
The Pointless Debate Club (PDC) was started in Spring of 2018 by Wallace Pope and Brett Marshall after they witnessed their friends “continually arguing about the dumbest things.” They thought starting an organization that debated these topics and came to a solution could be a fun way to dissolve these arguments among their friend group while making new friends along the way.
“The idea started as a bit of a joke. But the more Wallace and I thought about it, the more we realized this could be a really fun club where people could come together for an hour or so and be goofy and let loose a little,” Marshall said.
The PDC’s Engage page cites the club as “a great way to meet new people and improve communication skills.”
“The way the debates are formatted require you to really listen to the other side’s argument because you have to have a counter to their points in order to persuade the jury.”
The PDC met just once last spring, but Marshall and Pope said they hope to have at least one debate each month throughout the school year.
“We only had one debate last semester, but it was a lot of fun,” Marshall said. “Things got a little heated, but in a good way. People really took it seriously and pleaded their case to the other side and tried to convince the jury that they were right. In the end, we concluded that water isn’t wet and that a hot dog is a sandwich.”
The debate structure is pretty simple. According the official rules found on the PDC’s Instagram page (@msupointlessdebateclub), the club is split into three groups: Side 1, Side 2 and Jury. Each side gets 10 minutes to come up with their argument for why they’re right. After those 10 minutes are up, they then get five minutes to present their case to the Jury and other side. Three minutes are then given to come up with any rebuttals as well as a closing statement, which are both presented to the other side and Jury in the same fashion as the opening statements.
The Jury then gets to deliberate and decide the winner and end the debate by a majority vote.
“The debates take about 20-30 minutes and we usually do two debates at each meeting,” Pope said. “Whatever the jury decides is the final answer and is accepted as the truth.”
One of the best experiences Marshall and Pope had from their first debate was the interaction they received on their Instagram page when they live streamed the debate.
“We had total strangers chiming in with comments and opinions,” Marshall said. “It was awesome to see because we weren’t expecting it and it also gave people the chance to participate without having to be at the meeting.”
“We feel that’s a feature of our club that separates us from other student organizations,” Pope said. “We’re proud of it and can’t wait to see where the club goes this year. Maybe we even go viral.”
There is no membership fee to join the Pointless Debate Club, but interested members can find out more information by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. The two also encourage following the Instagram page, @msupointlessdebateclub, as that is where they post their meeting times and club updates.