NIU plays host this weekend to the 32nd annual Novice National Forensics Tournament, a three-day event that will serve as a stepping stone for competitors, a homecoming for many coaches and an intense learning experience for two NIU students.
Students and coaches from 10 states and 25 schools will compete in intercollegiate debate and individual events.
Open to students in their first year of intercollegiate forensics competition, Novice Nationals is designed as an educational event that is competitive yet more low-key than other national tournaments.
Many students who have competed at Novice Nationals have gone on to success in the major national tournaments as well.
“We’re excited and proud because many alumni of NIU Forensics will be here with their own teams from Harper College, the College of DuPage, Kishwaukee College, Highland Community College and Prairie State College,” said longtime NIU Forensics coach Judy Santacaterina. “In addition, we have a number of NIU alumni who are returning to campus to judge.”
NIU students Alex Aebly and Kristina Kerchner, general studies majors in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, are serving as student directors of the tournament and gaining valuable experience in tournament direction and event planning.
Their duties have included working with local hotels and businesses along with numerous offices on campus. Aebly and Kerchner solicited volunteers and created teams to work on different tournament-organization tasks. They also will help run the tournament, using tabulation and scheduling software.
“This was a fine example of engaged, experiential learning for Alex and Kristina, who have been immersed in tournament planning for the last six months,” Santacaterina said.
“They experienced first-hand what it takes to organize and plan a major event like this,” she added. “The tournament has given them the opportunity to work with a professional forensics organization, interact with faculty from other schools and connect with alumni who are coming back for the tournament. It is an impressive accomplishment.”
The debate portion of the Novice National Forensics Tournament will be held from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, with the individual events competition slated for 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.
The competitions will be held in various rooms of DuSable and Reavis halls.