Greetings from the Northwestern Debate Society. I’m writing to announce that we will host the 54th Owen L. Coon Memorial Debates from February 4th through 6th, 2017. We have agreed with Joel Rollins and the University of Texas Debate Team to resume our annual rotating schedule after Texas generously hosted three years in a row due to construction on the Northwestern campus. Going forward, we have agreed that Northwestern will host in odd years and Texas will host in even years. Texas will therefore host next in February 2018
We will post an extensive invitation and tournament guide as we nail down our final plans, but for now we wanted to share the basic information you need to plan your travel schedule. Given the possibility of inclement weather, we will issue a snow-schedule in the final itinerary that will build in additional time for each debate.
Topic, Tabulation, and Team Numbers
We will debate the 2016-17 NDT-CEDA debate topic. We will use our traditional format of eight preliminary debates followed by elimination debates breaking to the double-octafinals. We will employ side equalization and will break brackets as per tradition. Gary Larson has graciously agreed to tabulate the tournament. Northwestern is a member institution of the NDT, ADA, and CEDA; we will administer the tournament accordingly.
At this time, we hope to be able to accommodate all entries. We may well have enough debating space on campus to do so. However, in the interest of prudence we have set the entry cap at 120 teams. Once we hit the cap your teams will be automatically added to the waitlist. By then we will have more accurate information about how many rooms will be available on campus and will begin the process of raising the cap and working with large parties to ensure folks can bring as many teams as possible.
Transportation to Chicago and On Campus:
If you fly to Chicago, it is entirely possible to attend the tournament without having to rent additional ground transportation. Hired cars and public transportation can get you to Evanston with ease from both O’Hare and Midway. Once you are in the hotel, which is immediately adjacent to campus, Northwestern Debate will provide bus and shuttle service between the hotel and the debates on campus as needed.
We are tremendously fortunate to have Northwestern alumna Cate Palczewski back with us to help administer the tournament alongside the current NU debaters and coaches. Fellow alumna Latonya Starks has also agreed to assist in our efforts to make our campus as accessible as possible for all tournament participants. Further announcements regarding our accessibility program and contact information for participants with disabilities will follow in the official invitation and on this forum topic. For now, suffice it to say that we are determined to make an extraordinary effort to assist all tournament participants with transportation and unique accommodations during the event, all the more so if we have challenging weather conditions.
Hotel and Tournament Pricing
We have reserved a large block of rooms at the Orrington. The tournament rate will be $135 per night. The Orrington has agreed to discount overnight parking for us, and we have arranged to provide free high speed internet for all tournament participants. If needed we will add another block of rooms at the Hilton Garden Inn which is not much farther from campus than the Orrington. We will include information regarding tournament fees in the invitation.
Tournament Provided Food
We traditionally provide breakfast and lunch on Saturday, all three meals on Sunday, and Breakfast and Lunch for the remaining tournament participants during the elimination debates on Monday. We will provide the final details regarding tournament provided food in the invitation.
We are looking forward to see you in February! I know I speak for the entire Debate Society and its alums when I say that hosting this event is something we look forward to; we are delighted that you will be joining us in Evanston again for a weekend of excellent debating after a three year stretch with our colleagues in Texas. Please feel free to contact us with any questions you may have.
Daniel J. Fitzmier on behalf of the Northwestern Debate Society