The Oregon State University (OSU) Forensics Team competes regionally, nationally, and internationally in individual events and international public debate. Individual events are public speaking and oral interpretation events that students prepare ahead of competitions. International public debate is an extemporaneous form of one-on-one debate where students are given a choice of five topics each round.
The team is coached by the Director of Forensics, Mark Porrovecchio, and assistant coaches. The team is open to any undergraduate student in good academic standing. The OSU Forensics Team is a member of the Performing Arts Board in the Speech Communication area of the School of Arts and Communication. The team is funded through student fees, team-based fundraising, and endowments. The team pays for registration fees, transportation, housing, and the majority of meals while at competitions. This ensures that the team is open to all regardless of financial background. Consequently, anyone who wants to improve all-important communication skills can do so through participation on OSU's team.
The primary purpose of participation in forensics is to gain skills in public speaking and argumentation. Forensics participation is one of the primary extra-curricular activities employers look for on resumes since it means an applicant possesses self-confidence, communication skills, organizational and time management skills. Many famous political, religious, and cultural leaders have forensics competition in their background.
The forensics team has a rich history at OSU. Founded in the late 1800s, the team was the only extra-curricular activity at Oregon Agricultural School. Debate, along with the Alumni Association, are the only things that remain of that original school. Over the years, OSU has been both innovative in its educational approach and successful in competition.
We are a member of the International Forensics Association (IFA), American Forensics Association (AFA), Pi Kappa Delta (PKD), International Public Debate Association (IPDA), Northwest Intercollegiate Debate League (NIDL), and the Northwest Forensics Conference (NFC). Regionally, we compete at eight to ten tournaments per season (primarily in the Fall and Winter terms) in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. In recent years we have traveled to national tournaments in Louisiana, Texas, and Minnesota, as well as competing internationally in Budapest, Hungary, Antwerp, Belgium, Paris, France, and Barcelona, Spain. Most years we also host the Earl Wells Memorial Speakeasy, an individual events and international public debate tournament, which draws schools from the Pacific Northwest and from as far away as Texas. Most importantly, forensics is a way to have fun and make great friends in an educational setting.