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10 March 2008

U.S. Universities National Championship

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

We are a little over a month away from this year's U.S. Universities National Championship Tournament, and I wanted to make everyone aware of some important updates, including: partnership with IDEA, confirmed trainers, social information, and additional lodging options. We already have teams register from all corners of the United States, and are very excited at the interest in this year's tournament. We are committed to making it a great experience for competitors and coaches alike!

First, we have partnered with IDEA (The International Debate Education Association), and they will be offering administrative and financial support for the tournament. We are very excited about this because of IDEA's reputation and outreach in the debate world, as well as their interest in furthering the British Parliamentary debate format here in the United States. Dr. Robert Trapp of Willamette University will be serving as an IDEA representative at the tournament, assisting with tournament duties, and helping to oversee tabulation. IDEA will have other representatives there, as well as IDEA publications for sale. For more information about IDEA, please visit

Second, we have confirmed three trainers for the tournament who will assist with the briefings and workshops, as well as judging and topic selection. The first is Rory Gillis from Yale University. Rory was the top speaker and semifinalist at Worlds 2006 in Dublin, as well as a finalist in tournaments at Oxford, Cambridge, and CUSID BP Championships. He has also been chosen as a Deputy Chief Adjudicator at next year's World Championships in Cork, Ireland.

Our second trainer is Alistair Cormack, former President of the Durham Union Society in the United Kingdom. Alistair is fresh off of this year's British Tour of the United States, where he visited several universities, engaging in several debates and workshops. Additionally, Alistair has served as a DCA at the European Championships, and was a finalist at the English National Championships.

Our third trainer is Chris Kolerok, formerly of the University of Alaska – Anchorage. Chris has experience in both NPDA and BP formats of debate, and was a semifinalist at Worlds 2007 in Vancouver. Chris has also won many tournaments on the west coast, including the 2006 Hatfield Debates and the 2006 PSU Worlds Warmup. He was also a finalist at both the 2005 and 2006 U.S. Universities National Championships at the Claremont Colleges.

In keeping with a Worlds-style tradition, we will be having a tournament social on Saturday evening (April 12th) of the tournament. This social will take place in Hoffman Hall on the Portland State University campus, and will feature food, drinks, live music, and the break announcement. We have secured corporate sponsorship from the Widmer Brewing Company (which means free beer for participants over 21), as well as product donations from Red Bull. We have also confirmed that the PSU Jazz Band will be playing!

For those that want to see a bit more of Portland, not just our campus, we have struck several deals with local entertainment venues to provide free or discounted admission to events on Thursday and Friday night (April 10-11). We will be distributing a "zine" which will include information about all these venues, as well as maps and discount coupons. We want to make sure that people get to take advantage of the variety of events and locales in our great city.

Finally, we have an update on our hotel situation. Our original hotel choice (The University Place) has already booked all the double-bed rooms for the weekend of the tournament. Below is a list of alternative lodgings that are all within walking distance of campus. We do not have "blocks" of rooms at any of the following hotels, but have listed the rate that was quoted to us. Also, we still have a limited amount of "crash" available for students on a first come-first served basis. Please let me know as soon as possible if you will be requiring "crash" with one of the PSU debaters.

1) Downtown Value Inn
415 SW Montgomery StreetPortland, OR, 97201Phone: (503) 226-4751
Room with double beds: $80.00 daily (including tax). For two people; rooms with more than two people are charged an additional $10 per night. Free parking for guests; within walking distance of PSU.

2) Econo Lodge Portland
1889 SW 4th AvenuePortland, OR 97201Phone: (503) 226-7646
Room with two double beds: $89.99 daily. Each additional guest will be charged $10 per night. Free parking is provided as available; within walking distance of PSU.

3) Portland/City Center Travelodge
2401 SW 4th AvenuePortland, OR 97201Phone: (503) 226-1121
A room with two double beds is $79. More than two guests per room will increase the price, as with the others. Free parking is provided, and it is slightly further than the other hotels, but still very close and within walking distance to the PSU campus.

4) Portland Marriott – Waterfront
1401 SW Naito ParkwayPortland, Oregon 97201 USAPhone: 1-503-226-7600
Room with two double beds: $139.99. There is a fee for parking.
If you have any questions about the tournament, or any problems with registration, please contact me. I look forward to seeing everyone in April!


Christopher Richter

Director of Forensics – Portland State University

503-725-8283 office

503-490-9619 cell

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