UND Forensics Team strives to be self-supporting and victorious


Amy Halvorson

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UND Forensics Team strives to be self-supporting and victorious

The University of North Dakota Forensics Team is back and at it again.

But we're not talking about solving crimes using ultramodern tech. We're talking about forensics as the art of argumentation.

The UND Forensics Team is a college level speech and debate team that competes regionally at various campuses in North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and Nebraska ? typically from October through April. Last year, the entire Team qualified for nationals where they had the opportunity to compete in a variety of categories, such as poetry, prose, informative speaking, impromptu speaking, debate and persuasive speaking.

"It was really neat just seeing the juniors and seniors preform last year," said Thomas Muscha, a sophomore mathematics major from Harvey, N.D. "They were just so smooth and had achieved perfection."

The Team expects at least half of them will go to nationals this year. Team member Natasha Puetz, a sophomore English major from Wyndmere, N.D., has already qualified for nationals and three more are expected to join her at the American Forensics Association National Individual Events Tournament in Portland, Ore.

Both Muscha and Puetz are also qualified for the National Forensics Association National Individual Events Tournament in Athens, Ohio.

"I consider these guys (the Forensics Team) academic special forces," said LaRoyce Batchelor, the Team's coach.

This is the second year the Forensics Team has been back on UND's campus since shutting down in 1995, and they’re working tirelessly to build the Team back up from scratch.

Last year, they netted the largest profit of any UND student organization that sold popcorn for a week. They continue to be successful this year, selling popcorn in the Memorial Union in order to raise money for round two at the national speech tournaments.

"I just really want to go to nationals ? it's the best of the best, the top of the line, the cream of the crop," said Corina Feist, a sophomore from Bismarck, N.D., majoring in visual arts. "The people that have the strongest arguments and are actually going to change things will all be there, performing in one room."

But it’s challenging to make ends meet for the opportunity to be present at nationals.

While selling popcorn may be the Team's main source of revenue, they plan on checking out other methods as well, such as hosting showcases where people can donate and watch the Team perform.

"We know that if we work hard enough we will eventually gather enough support," said Benjamin Olson, a freshman team member from Fargo, N.D., majoring in public administration.

The team knows the hard work they put in will pay dividends for years to come. Public speaking, argumentation, reasoning, and acting are valuable skills ? both in and out of college.

"I like that it gives me a chance to meet a bunch of people, as well as giving me a chance to keep my finger on the pulse of what's happening with the world," said Feist. "Forensics gives you the ability to be direct, concise and stand up for what you believe in."

Amy Halvorson University & Public Affairs student writer

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