The Detroit Urban Debate League relies heavily on volunteers in order to provide the life-changing opportunities debate has to offer to as many Detroit area students as possible. Volunteers fill vital roles throughout the year; including coaching at schools, judging debate tournaments, and general help with league operations. No prior debate experience or training is required, and virtually any level of commitment can be accommodated.

One of the most exciting and helpful ways to volunteer for the Detroit Urban Debate League is to be a volunteer judge at one or more of six citywide debate tournaments held throughout the school year.

A Detroit Urban Debate League debate tournament is a rigorous and intense academic competition. In teams of two, Detroit area students argue for and against public policy proposals on issues ranging from science to economics to politics and government. For many, tournaments are a rare opportunity to connect intellectually with their peers and to have their ideas about important issues considered seriously by adults. Such an experience has a powerful effect on a student’s self-esteem and interest in education.

Judging is a great way to interact with and help our students. It is also a great way to help the league. Without volunteer judges, the D-UDL would not exist.

Your Commitment

Our tournaments start on Friday late afternoon and end Saturday early evening. Each debate typically last 1½ hours. Of course, if you have the time, feel free to volunteer to judge during more than one day. We also ask volunteers to attend a half hour training session before judging.

As a judge, you will listen to the debaters, take notes, talk to the debaters when the debate round is over, offer encouragement, tell them what they did well and what they should work on, and then choose a winner.

We do not need to know your availability to volunteer until the Wednesday prior to the tournament. However, it is extremely important that you are present once you make that commitment. You will be assigned to a judge a specific debate round that cannot happen if you are not there.

Please email us if you would like us to add your email to our judge list and you will get reminders when tournaments are coming up. And if you have any questions, please contact us at the number below or email HollyReiss@urbandebate.org.

Volunteer Schedule

For a schedule of our tournaments, check out our events calendar under news and events.