The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

Audience captivated at El Camino Speakers’ Forum

As patrons were settling in the Marsee Auditorium for the Speakers’ Forum on Tuesday, Feb. 28, at 7 p.m., Director of Forensics Francesca Bishop walked on stage and welcomed them.

Bishop described the performances the audience would see that night and told them to suggest topics later on for a debate.

“Jordan versus Lebron!” “Free U.S. healthcare!” “A.I.!” were all shouted out as options before the audience decided on which issue was more important to address: alleviating poverty versus alleviating climate change.

Members of El Camino College’s forensics team debated this topic and other members did speech performances for the event to showcase their communication skills and presentation.

The Speakers’ Forum was also an opportunity for the team to raise money for their expenditures, such as trips to attend debate tournaments.

Bishop said the team fundraises all the time for debate and hopes some people attending these events join the team.

“I want people to learn what we do and that we are more than just forensics,” Bishop said.

Forensics team member Hameeda Uloomi started the event by performing a speech on having aphantasia, affecting one’s ability to form mental imagery.

Business major Sheriff Abdrahman was given two minutes to prepare a five-minute impromptu quotation speech around a quote given by Bishop on stage.

Associated Student’s Organization President Jana Abulaban performed a prose interpretation based on the experiences of Palestinian activist Ahed Tamimi during the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“The piece was emotional and powerful and I hope [attendees] at least learn a little bit more about the conflict,” Abulaban said.

Forensics team member Josiah Edwards and political science major Cody Hagemeier debated the audience-chosen topic after preparing since the start of the forum.

Edwards advocated for alleviating climate change while Hagemeier sided with alleviating poverty around the world.

“It was awesome to be able to share what we do with the audience,” Hagemeier said.

Hagemeier noticed how engaged the audience was with the back-and-forth conversation and wants anyone who was intrigued by the debate and event to join the team.

“I hope people learn the value of having conversations, being open to different perspectives, and finding the truth,” Hagemeier said.

The event ended after the captain of the debate team, Uzair Pasta, performed a dark humor speech that contained sensitive topics with cited sources which made the audience laugh.

After the event, 20-year-old English major Zack Johnson said he attended to get credit for a public speaking class and his favorite performance of the night was the debate.

Johnson attended previous events held by the forensics team and would try to join the team in the future.

“I’ll possibly check out the dates and give it a try, competitive speech is an interesting topic,” Johnson said.

The event occurred a week before some members of the forensics team travel to Tokyo, Japan, to represent El Camino College at the 33rd International Speech & Debate Tournament and Conference on March 10, 2023.

Bishop told The Union that along with fundraising events held by the forensics team, the El Camino College Foundation helped fund their trip to Tokyo so the team can compete internationally.

“It is a unique experience to be able to compete with other teams that we [don’t] normally compete with,” Bishop said.

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