An update from Anthony, a senior majoring in political science and communication studies:
Throughout my time at SMU, I have been very involved in the Dallas Urban Debate Alliance (DUDA). DUDA is a nonprofit organization that sets up debate programs at schools in lower-income areas in Dallas ISD. The organization gives debate coaches the tools they need to run a successful debate program, while also giving college debate students an opportunity to help coach the students of these schools.
DUDA is needed because many schools have well-established and well-funded programs that many lower-income schools cannot compete with. The organization hosts tournaments between the DUDA schools so the students will be able to compete with other students at their level. Once DUDA students have learned how to debate, they can compete in tournaments outside of DUDA, and many have been highly successful in these tournaments.
One of the greatest parts of this organization is getting to encourage high school students to go to college. Many of the students who join DUDA debate teams may not believe college is an option for them. By having college students help out as coaches, high school students can get college advice and become interested in going to college. Furthermore, DUDA offers several college scholarships to students who participate. Finally, some DUDA students have been good enough to get debate scholarships for college, meaning it has opened an opportunity to them that they would not have previously had.
Being involved with DUDA has greatly improved my SMU experience. It is inspiring to see how we can easily help change the lives of high school students in the Dallas community. I have learned that it is such a privilege and honor to be at a school like SMU. Getting a college education is an opportunity that should not be wasted, so I have chosen to devote some of my time here to helping other students get to college. I have truly seen the power of debate and education and how it will shape the future of our country.