SEED in Cincinnati Spring2011

The SMU SEED (Society for Ethical Evaluation and Debate) Team participated in the Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl in Cincinnati in March 2011.

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Top of our game

An update from Rachel Buchanan, a psychology major and ethics minor:

Unfortunately, I’m not much of a morning person and forgot to photographically document the quick breakfast we grabbed at the Hilton. It was mostly liquid forms of caffeine and bananas, but was not disappointing by any means. Turns out, we were all sleepy and nervous about the competition, so we didn’t have much of an appetite, which is unlike us.

As we filed into the Hall of Mirrors for the commencement ceremony, we noticed we were the only all-female team competing. It was exciting because it felt like we were breaking the mold, and we even had a few judges remark on our team’s uniqueness.

We competed at the top of our game, considering it was our first time to Nationals and our first year competing together; we were happy to score as well as we did. We won our first round, almost tied the second. The third round was the most intense, discussing topics of electing foreclosure on a mortgage and the ethics of alcoholic-caffeinated beverage combinations and if these products should be sold.

Pizza.jpg Unfortunately, we did not score enough points to advance to quarterfinals, which was upsetting but not discouraging. We decided to venture out for lunch into downtown Cincinnati to try a local pizza place. After filling up on chicken spinach pizza and apple pie pizza (yes, it was delicious) we noticed a small bookstore across the street.

bookbinding.jpg This may be the highlight of my time in Cincinnati; the gentlemen that own and operate this store were so hospitable! They gave us the grand tour, showing us all three floors and the basement, where they run a book binding business. They even allowed me to document the entire tour with my camera. The store has been there since the 1940s and has been passed down in the family for decades.

bookbinding_8.jpg The owner’s son ran the bookbinding division and showed us different books he restored and even books he was in the process of making. It was very interesting to see the metal letters used to make words for the spines and covers of books, a printing style called hot type. He showed us a family Bible from the 1880s that he was restoring; it was like a work of art and the largest Bible I’ve ever seen. (This may not say much because I do not have a great deal of Bible experience.)

When we made our way back to the hotel, we sat through the rest of the rounds to listen to the different ways each team presented their ethical approach for each case. It was a great learning experience to see how different teams set up ideas, without having to be competing against the idea; instead we were just able to absorb it and digest it.

We learned so much during the entire competition and are so excited to use what we have learned for next year. We also learned there are so many contemporary philosophers we want to study; this opened the door to so many new things. We were so engrossed in the final rounds that we forgot to eat dinner.

The final round was tough, the two teams discussed topics such as the competing duties of law officials to uphold unjust laws toward undocumented workers and the ethical implications of bringing back a stereotypical racial portrayal Chinese-American detective from the 1920s. Would this perpetuate negative stereotypes in our culture or would it be a learning experience of our past prejudices? The final round finished just before midnight on Thursday evening.

Since we had to depart from the hotel before 5 AM for our flight home, we could not attend the reception and meet with judges and other team members. We were too sleepy to be sociable, so we will make up for it next year.

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