Penn Debate Society Fund
Penn Debate Society

The team in spring 2017!
Who We Are
The Penn Debate Society (PDS) was founded in 1984 as the Penn Parliamentary Debate Society as part of the Penn Debate Council. Today, we are Penn's nationally ranked competitive debate team on the American Parliamentary Debate Association, the nation's oldest and most prestigious debate league. As one of the top 10 teams in the nation and top 16 teams in the world, we have achieved remarkable success on both the national and international level, especially in recent years. You can find a full list of our results & awards here:

In addition to competing, we also host campus events to promote discourse around contentious campus and public issues. Recent examples include collaboration debates with the Economist ( and the Philomathean society (
Why We Need Your Help
Since 2015, the team has roughly tripled in size while our budget has not, such that our supply of debaters is outpacing the amount of debate opportunities we can provide. Our team motto is "We are a family," and we want to ensure that every member of our team has access to the opportunities that epitomize why we are involved in debate, especially at the prestigious title tournaments of the National, North American, and World Championships. Your gift to the Penn Debate Society will make it possible for us to attend these tournaments - a foundational element for any prestigious collegiate debate team - and is thus an investment in the current and future generations of Penn debaters. Your gift will also make it possible for the team to expand and grow so that we can allow more Penn students to enjoy the invaluable learning experiences that debate can provide.

This year, gifts from generous donors allowed our team to attend the 2019 World University Debating Championships, where we ranked 16th. More information can be found at this Daily Pennsylvanian article:
"We are a family"
Participation in these tournaments means potentially life-changing conversations and friendships. In 2018, the Penn delegation to the World University Debating Championships met Debi Ogunrinde, C'16, W'16, a Debate Society alumna who is now a Rhodes Scholar. Debi has become an invaluable resource and mentor for many of us. We are so fortunate to have her guidance, and it is unlikely that we would have met her had we not been able to travel to World Championships. Funds from people like you will make these opportunities possible for more Penn debaters.
Where Your Money Goes
While we are thrilled that our team has grown, it means that the costs associated with hosting and participating in competitions have increased as well. Here, you can see directly where your donation will go, and why it matters!
  • Our debaters range from engineering students to English majors and hail from over eight countries
  • Our alumni include students at Harvard Law School, Stanford Law School, & Oxford University as Rhodes Scholars
  • Debating significantly improves knowledge of a range of disciplines and perspectives
  • $100: cost of sending one debater to a tournament in New York City
  • $200: cost of sending one debater to the National Championships
  • $500: cost of sending one debater to the North American Championships
  • $1500: cost of sending one debater to the World Championships
Donation messages
Go PDS, so proud of you@ --Dr. Robert Litan
Pennsylvania Parli, We are a Family! --Mr. Chad Edmonson
Great piece in Gazette. Delighted to hear of your success. --Stephen Marmon 71C, 81WG
Keep up the good work. --Mr. Robert Shapiro
So proud of the PDS! Amazing accomplishments over the past several years and this year in particular! --Dr. Robert Litan
Donate now!
Fundraising goal $15,000.00
Recent donations (24 donations)
Name DescendingX Amount
Dr. Robert Litan $150.00
Mr. Leonard Michaels
Mr. Chad Edmonson $250.00
Stephen Marmon 71C, 81WG $100.00
Mr. Robert Shapiro $100.00
Recent donations
Top donors (24 donations)
Martin Eltrich
Erik Johnson $500.00
Erik Johnson $300.00
Handler $250.00

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