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What is the BDU?

The Brown Debating Union is Brown's only intercollegiate debate association. We host debate tournaments of our own, and compete across the country and around the world in debate competition. 

In which formats does the BDU compete? 

The BDU competes in American Parliamentary Debate Association, of which we are a founding member. We also compete in British Parliamentary. 

Does the BDU have tryouts? 

No. The BDU is a no-cut team, meaning we accept anyone who would like to join, in any capacity. We see this as integral to the culture of our team, and an important part of our mission to making debate accessible to all students, regardless of their experience level. 


Do you need debate experience to be on the BDU?

No! Many of our members have never debated before coming to Brown and are still able to find competitive success. 

I did high school debate. Is this different?

Yes - though it depends on what kind of high school debate you did. APDA and BP are different from the vast majority of high school speech and debate formats in many ways, especially in that they are not evidence-based, and in APDA specifically debaters get to chose their own topic. While the core skills of argumentation and persuasion remain, debaters will quickly see the new challenges and excitements that college debate provides, including the fact that debaters don't need to dress up for tournaments. 

I'm not a first year. Can I still join the BDU?

Of course. Anybody is welcome to join the BDU, including non-first years.

Does the BDU only debate?

The BDU is as much a team and a family as it is a debating organization. We have team dinners every week, as well as socials every couple weeks, and all members are invited to attend, whether they compete every weekend or once a semester. 

Do you have to pay to be involved? 

Nope! It is our goal to remove all financial barriers attached to debate. The BDU covers all costs of tournament participation as well as travel and lodging when applicable.

What steps does the BDU take to create an inclusive environment?

The BDU is firmly committed to building an equitable environment for all members of our team. Every member is required to sign a Code of Conduct each year. Additionally, our team appoints Equity Officers who serve as confidential resources for discussion and reporting of equity violations.

Our Mission
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