» By MORGAN SMITH – msmith156@my.apsu.edu

The 8th annual AP Debate Forum sponsored by the Department of Communication will be held from 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 2, in the Music and Mass Communication Concert Hall.

Each year the department raises a question or issue relevant to both the students and Clarksville community to engage students in a public discussion.

This year’s topic is whether or not American citizens should be required to complete at least two years of military service after reaching the age of 18 or graduating from high school.

“The purpose of the AP Debate Forum is to provide an opportunity for students taking public speaking to practice the skills they are learning in class in a real life setting,” said Stacie Mumpower, communications instructor and public speaking coordinator.

The annual AP Debate Forum is a popular event each year. “We see between 300 and 400 in attendees each year,” Mumpower said. “Some of the attendees are from around campus and in the community as well.” Many of the faculty who teach public speaking courses also attend to see their students in action.

“I admire anyone who can get up in front of a large or small group of people and speak. It takes guts to do and a lot of people don’t realize how much confidence it takes to do it until they’re faced with it themselves,” said Angel Lopez, a U.S. Army soldier and freshman at APSU.

The Debate Forum aids in helping students to see the value of public speaking.

“It’s so important to know how to speak in public well,” said Whitney Beaird, student and Resident Assistant at Sevier Hall. “Public speaking comes in handy for most fields, if not all fields, because you are constantly going to be speaking to people. If you cannot speak properly and confidently investors won’t work with you, employers won’t hire you and you’ll likely never move up to where you want to be.”

The Department of Communication invites all students to take part in the forum. For the first time they’re utilizing Facebook and Twitter to involve the audience and students in the debate.

“The Department of Communication Chair, Mike Gotcher, actually came up with the original idea to use social media so audience members could submit questions the debaters and audience speakers would answer,” Mumpower said. “It is a departure from the previous format of the debate, and I think it will be a lively event as a result.”

During the debate the audience can ask questions to the debaters via Facebook and Twitter, and also give real-time feedback.

Students are encouraged to like “AP Debate Forum” on Facebook and follow “#apdebateforum” on Twitter before the event. TAS