OGDEN --- Debate students and coaches from around the country descended on the campus of Weber State University Friday to debate issues surrounding domestic energy production.
The university is host to the 67th National Debate Tournament, which continues through Monday. Students from Harvard, Dartmouth and Northwestern are among some of the debaters this year.
The 78 two-person academic policy debate teams that qualified to attend this year's tournament represent the very best in the nation, said Omar Guevara, WSU forensics director.
"When these students think of Utah, they think of Weber State University," said Guevara. "This is our 90th year as a college debate team. We are the oldest, and one of the most competitive, in the country and we are really excited to have the rest of the nation here to celebrate with us."
Dillon Olson, a senior at Weber State who will graduate with a degree in philosophy this year, became interested in debate during high school. He said debate supplements everything and anyone can benefit.
"I really enjoy the clash of ideas. It makes you more open-minded and allows you to scrutinize and attain a sturdier foundation for knowledge," he said. "There's a lot of research that goes into it and I enjoy that very much. Debate has really helped prepare me for law school."
WSU freshman Hannah Shoell said the tournament has been stressful and competitive.
"You usually get a lot of (stressed) people at these, but that's understandable," she said. "There's a lot at stake and the winners get a lot of attention within the debate world."
Shoell, who is majoring in English, also plans to pursue law.
"You can pretty much use debate with anything. It requires you to think and communicate and be argumentative in a good way," she said.
"We've been debating about domestic energy production, which includes wind, solar, gas, natural and nuclear. It's a lot of work and has required immense research. I think I've easily got over 1,000 pages of research on this topic."
Guevara said debate develops students intellectually and fosters critical thinking, critical literacy and public speaking.
"It keeps students engaged in the formal learning process, accelerating the rate of graduation," he said.