Chicago Debates relies on a large network of volunteers—college students, debate alumni, professionals in the community, parents, and teachers—to help our debate program thrive. There are a variety of ways to get involved at Chicago Debates.
- Academic Debate is life changing for the debaters, but you can benefit too!
- Empower a young person
- Serve as a conscientious educator
- Use your professional skills to support future leaders
- Improve your professional network working with other judges
- Academic service learning opportunity
- Give back
- Build camaraderie with your team/group
We need judges to give our students the opportunity to debate at tournaments! No experience is required; we will train you to be an effective judge. Judges have the option to volunteer for a half-day or full day. We offer judge volunteers a small stipend and lunch.
Not ready to become a tournament judge? You can help make sure tournaments run smoothly, assisting with registration, meals, and running the information table. We offer tournament operation volunteers a small stipend and lunch.
Community Debate Coach
Coach a specific school’s debate team on an ongoing basis. Coaching occurs weekly at the school during school hours, and at six weekend tournaments per year. External coaches can work in either a paid or volunteer capacity. The position requires prescreening as well as a deep commitment to coaching debate. Ongoing training and support are provided by Chicago Debates. Read our community coach guidelines here. Apply to be a community coach here. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis.
Do you have a group interested in volunteering or planning a day of service? Then volunteer with Chicago Debates. Come work with Chicago students to support their skills in policy-making, speech, and critical thinking in a competitive environment. No debate experience needed!
Once registered for a tournament volunteers may chose which rounds they’d like to work. We offer $10 per preliminary round judged and $15 per elimination round judged. Prior to the tournament you will communicate which rounds you’d like to judge with the Volunteer and Outreach Manager. Tournament schedules vary but typically go as follows:
- Middle School Conferences: Saturday 8:00am – 3:00pm
- High School Red and Maroon Conferences: Saturday 8:00am – 4:00pm
- High School Blue and Silver Conferences: Friday 3:00pm – 8:00pm / Saturday 8:00am – 9:00pm (includes elimination rounds)
- You don’t have to have debate experience to volunteer
- All volunteers will receive a 60-minute orientation and training tailored to the type of role you sign-up for to make sure volunteers are prepared and comfortable with this new opportunity
- All sessions are typically held at Chicago Debates’ office. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, trainings will take place virtually until further notice. Orientation training sessions are finished for the ’20-’21 season. Check back in the fall for new training dates.