The Center for Civic Engagement
Among Bard’s basic principles is a fundamental belief in the link between liberal education and democracy, and Bard is firmly committed to promoting and sustaining projects that engage its students, faculty, and administrators with some of the most important issues facing society. Bard’s Center for Civic Engagement supports, coordinates, and promotes the wide array of initiatives that define Bard as a private institution in the public interest. Whether it is in social service organizations in the Hudson Valley, in prisons, in high schools in New York, Newark, New Orleans, and California’s Central Valley, or in universities in Russia, the West Bank, and Kyrgyzstan, Bard is always innovating and engaging. The Bard Debate Union is proud to be a part of this civic engagement initiative through various debate outreach projects.
Debate in the Red Hook Middle School
The Bard Debate Union has partnered with the Red Hook School District to develop the first ever Red Hook debate program! The program began in Fall 2010 with the help of Paul Finch (Red Hook School District Superintendent), Frank Knobloch (School Board), Eleanor Davis (Red Hook Education Foundation), and of course, Paul Marienthal (Associate Dean of Civic Engagement and Director of the Bard TLS program). Through the program, a member of the Bard Debate Union visits the Red Hook Middle School every two weeks in order to work with students on speech and argumentation skills and to organize exciting classroom debates! This year’s project participant is Bard Debater and junior, Lee Gensler (2012-2013). Past participants include Zachary Israel (2011-2012) and Radley Glasser (2010-2011).
Debate in the Red Hook High School
Given the tremendous success of the middle school program, the Bard Debate Union began working with the Red Hook High School in Fall 2011 to help them to found a debate club as well. Faculty Adviser of the Bard Debate Union, Ruth Zisman, helped to get the program moving and now we are excited to say that we have a program very similar to the one in the Middle School functioning in the High School. One Bard Debater goes to the high school every two weeks during club meeting time and helps the debate club to have exciting in- class debates, to do debate drills and training sessions, and to improve their public speaking skills. This year’s project participant is Bard Debater and sophomore, Hanze Song (2012-2013).
The Annual Middle and High School Debate Tournament at Bard College
The Bard Debate Union hosted the First Annual Middle and High School Debate Tournament at Bard College on March 9th, 2012. The tournament hosted students from all three Bard High School Early Colleges, Rhinebeck High School, Red Hook High School, and the Red Hook Middle School. The tournament featured two full rounds of debate for all participants, a pizza lunch, and an awards ceremony for the top placing teams and speakers in each division. It was such a success that we are very pleased to announce that we will be hosting the 2nd Annual Middle and High School Debate Tournament at Bard College on Friday, March 1, 2013! This year we hope to welcome betweeo 60-70 students in total and to welcome for the first time students from Rhinebeck Middle School and St. Joseph’s Middle School in Kingston!
Debate in the Bard Prison Initiative
The Bard Debate Union is also working to integrate debate training and education into the innovative and world-renown Bard Prison Initiative. Ruth Zisman (Faculty Adviser to the Bard Debate Union) offered two guest lectures on debate in Professor Daniel Berthold’s BPI class in Fall 2011, and now Bard Debate Coach, David Register is working to integrate debate into his public speaking classes at BPI. BPI students are so thrilled with debate, that we are now brainstorming ideas to put together a full prison debate program. Of course, prison debates have a long history of success, as attested to by Malcolm X, perhaps the world’s most famous prison debate team member.
Related Bard Programs:
Bard Trustee Leader Scholar Program (http://inside.bard.edu/tls/)
Bard Change in Action (http://student.bard.edu/cia/index.shtml)
Hannah Arendt Center (http://www.bard.edu/hannaharendtcenter/)
Bard Globalization and International Affairs Program (http://bgia.bard.edu/)
Bard’s Institute for International Liberal Education (http://iile.bard.edu/)