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HPU Debate Society aspires for success under new leadership

    By Casey Park - Managing Editor. November 17, 2017 - 11:25 am

Stirling Higa teaching a class. Photo provided by Ole Christian Nymoen.

The Hawaii Pacific University (HPU) Debate Society is under new leadership. The team has the opportunity to prove their skills in upcoming local and mainland tournaments with new coach Sterling Higa.

As of August, Higa has begun teaching in the communication department and has taken the role as debate coach. Higa has five years of experience at Harvard University and the University of Hawaii in British Parliamentary Debate, which is the same format HPU’s team practices.

During the 2016-2017 school year, the team performed poorly in several tournaments, including a near last ranking in the U.S. National Competition.

Higa explained that compared to the previous interim debate coach, he has significantly greater experience and commitment in the team’s activities. He said, “LeaDan didn’t have much experience in British Parliamentary.” He also emphasized the importance of individual meetings outside of general practice sessions towards team progress.

“There’s definitely been improvement since the beginning of the year” said Higa, yet the big test for the team will be its first tournaments of the year. One team will compete in the rigourous National Debate Tournament in California while another will compete at the University of Hawaii.

Higa stated, “It’d be nice to rank in the top half of teams.”

HPU’s Debate Society practices at various competitions and holds semi-weekly meetings on Mondays and Fridays from 5:15-7:15 p.m.

“Debate is an activity that tests your knowledge and your ability to speak persuasively. There are few classes that give you as many opportunities as debate does to speak in front of an audience and become comfortable with that,” stated Higa.

Students who are interested in participating in debate are encouraged to email Sterling Higa at or attend weekly meetings on Monday or Friday.