Sac State Magazine is a publication produced by the Office of Advancement Communications and Stewardship at Cal State University, Sacramento highlighting alumni, students, faculty and staff.
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Don't get into an argument with Brandon Garcia and Will Hampton- Bruce. No, they aren't mixed martial arts experts. They don't carry weapons. In fact, Hampton-Bruce has been seen sporting a "Co-exist" t-shirt. But when it comes to quarrels, they rarely lose. As standouts on the Sac State Debate Team, they're one of the most highly regarded duos the campus has seen in many years and they've set their sights on the National Debate Tournament, featuring the top 200 collegiate teams in the country. "Debate is like a really intense extracurricular activity or even a sports team," Garcia says. "We essentially give up weekends where we could be studying for finals and we're at tournaments, but there is a lot of enjoyment in competing at a tournament." Sac State competes in policy debate. Teams of two research a given topic, preparing to argue both sides. The students are not judged on oratory skills or presentation— opening remarks are often delivered with the cadence of an espresso- fueled auctioneer as competitors pack in as much evidence for their case as possible within the allotted eight minutes. Kristen Tudor MA '03 (Public Communication), Sac State's director of debate, says the debate team is accomplishing its ultimate mission, which is to provide experience in debate to as many students as possible. There are currently 28 students in the program, up from just four when Tudor revived it in 2003. "The benefits of debate, even if it's just for one tournament, are so great," Tudor says. "I like to reach out to those novice students who have never competed, who think, 'Oh, I could never get up and compete in a debate.' I think that's what our program has been really strong at." Garcia began debating as a junior at McClatchy High School. Four years later, he and Hampton-Bruce are a formidable tandem, especially after winning the open division at Cal State Northridge's Robert Barbera Invitational in November. "I think winning the Northridge tournament shows the growth we've gone through, both as a partnership and as an overall team," says Garcia, who is majoring in international relations. Sac State Debate has a rich history. Renowned professors David Wagner and Barbara O'Connor coached the team in the 1970s and '80s. Numerous lawyers and other professionals cite their debate experience as crucial to their development. Garcia and Hampton-Bruce hope to build on Sac State's tradition by having the team reach the national tournament, something that hasn't happened in more than a decade. "Qualifying for the NDT is a life goal for me," says Garcia. Sac State will have to wait at least one more year after Garcia and Hampton-Bruce came up just short in February's regional qualifier. "We're hopeful that Sac State's dry spell of qualifying for the NDT will end, but it's really hard," Tudor says. "The schools that usually qualify are the ones with the million-dollar budgets and a team of coaches that's deeper than our whole department of communication studies." Tudor is just as excited for the 26 other students in Sac State Debate, who are gaining valuable skills and experience they'll carry on to the next stage of life. "They're taking what they learn in all of their classes—political science, government, history, philosophy— and seeing intersections of all those things in debate," Tudor says. "It's really inter-disciplinary and exposes them to ideas they never would have experienced otherwise." 6 S AC S TAT E M AGA Z I N E | S pr i ng 2 015 T he Buzz Sac State Debate Double Talk DOUBLE TALK— Brandon Garcia (left) and Will Hampton-Bruce are formidable debate opponents. THE POWER OF 1,000 HORNETS Sacramento State's men's and women's basketball's incredible 2014-15 seasons made two things perfectly clear: 1) the Hornets are teams to be reckoned with and 2) the campus lacks a facility large enough to host large-capacity crowds. As the men's team flirted with a spot at the top of the standings, there was an increasing possibility that Sac State might be in position to host the Big Sky Tournament—but not on campus, or even in Sacramento. The Hornet's Nest is too cozy for the crowds and media expected to attend. Though it turned out the concern was for naught—the team ended up attending rather than hosting the tournament—the seed was planted about the urgent need for an on-campus indoor arena to accommodate ceremonies, sporting events, concerts and other sizable gatherings. Enter "The Power of 1,000 Hornets." The grass-roots effort calls for 1,000 Hornets—alumni and friends—to each pledge $1,140 as seed funding for a new campus event center. It was inspired by The Sacramento Bee columnist Aileen Voisin challenging boosters to rally for the cause. While the University's Strategic and Master Plans already call for the construction of an event center to serve as a hub for athletic, entertainment and academic activities, The Power of 1,000 Hornets aims to jump start the process too by raising $1 million in dedicated private funding in support of the facility. In addition to providing a roomy, modern space for the campus, the proposed center will increase the University's connection with the greater Sacramento community by filling the need for a mid-sized venue. For more information visit SacStateAlumni.com/1000Hornets or call the Office of University Development at (916) 278-6989. C ATC H T H E E V E N T C E N T E R B U Z Z