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William Pitt Debating Union

Raised toward our $10,000 Goal
45 Donors
Project has ended
Project ended on December 31, at 11:59 PM EST
Project Owners

William Pitt Debating Union

Although their EngagePitt™ campaign has concluded, if you would still like to make a donation to the William Pitt Debating Union, you may always do so here.


The William Pitt Debating Union

With a century of successful debating history, the WPDU is one of the oldest debating organizations in the United States. Encompassing both intensive intercollegiate policy debate and public deliberation and civic engagement events, the WPDU has a broad mission.

Student debaters, graduate students, faculty, issue experts, and community figures collaborate to serve this community and represent the University of Pittsburgh nationwide at the highest levels of intellectual competition.

Our Success

The policy debate team has returned to national prominence with its most successful year in decades. Pitt teams have cleared at national tournaments alongside the best universities in the United States. Last year, we qualified two teams to the National Debate Tournament for the first time in over a decade. The team has rapidly grown in size and attracted some of the country's most successful high school debaters to its ranks.

With an experienced coaching staff and motivated students, the WPDU is poised for resurgence.

Our Need

Every day, our coaches and students walk past a display case holding the trophy of Pitt's last National Debate Tournament championship. After thirty years, we are hoping to add another. Unfortunately, while the debate team grows in size and expands its public mission, the budget has remained stagnant for decades. Graduate students are given fewer opportunities to assist the team and direct university funding remains scarce. Meanwhile, the cost of travel, hotel rooms, and tournament registration continues to rise.

It would be a sad irony if the team qualified for the NDT for a second year in a row but could not afford to attend. Unfortunately, this is a very real possibility. We are raising funds to finance our trip to the NDT and the costs of qualifying, including attendance at other tournaments and district qualifiers along the way.

Why Debate?

The William Pitt Debating Union supports two mutually beneficial activities: intense, high-pressure intercollegiate competition designed to hone research, argument, and information processing skills, and accessible, broadly engaging, public activities designed to share these skills and foster a culture of deliberation and civic participation.

As this election cycle demonstrates, both of these activities are important for a healthy democracy. Furthermore, intercollegiate debate attracts excellent students to Pitt and helps to cement the University's stature as a world-class institution.

Your funding helps to sustain all of these mutually-reinforcing activities and continue a proud century-long tradition at the University of Pittsburgh.

Choose a giving level



Everyone starts somewhere. $25 buys flow paper for one of our teams.



You remember the stock issues...well, most of the time. $50 pays for about one round of judging at the NDT.



You've learned all there is to learn about debate...or so you tell your coaches. $100 pays the participant fee for one student at the NDT.



Your word is final...and your friends appreciate the vote. $250 should cover a plane ticket for one student to the NDT.



You're the backbone of the debating union, whether you're preparing new arguments or fetching everything the students forgot in their last competition room. $500 covers the registration fee for one team, including a coach.


Director of Debate

You herd the cats and put out fires, sustained by nothing but coffee and commitment to public deliberation. $1000 is the estimated total cost for one student attending the NDT.


NDT Champion

You are what every starry-eyed novice hopes to become, the pinnacle of debate achievement. A $2,500 buys our plane tickets to the NDT and helps guarantee the future of the team. For $1,000,000, we might rename the debating union after you.

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