Each member on the Wake Forest Debate team carries 6 Rubbermaid containers filled with around 5,000 pages of research to every debate, but the newest trend in the Debate world, is going paperless. The only question is whether or not it is effective.
Each page of research is meticulously stored in manila folders and filed within the Rubbermaid boxes to be used in each debate. With the aid of all those pages of argumentation, debaters can summon up well-reasoned, highly specific points about nuclear disarmament, this year's topic for college policy debaters, The New York Times reports.
The problem is that this paper tradition is not sustainable. Each team uses up to 100,000 pages each debate. That's why Whitman College in Walla Walla Washington is going paperless.
"We had a paper-throwing-out party," said Jim Hanson, coach at Whitman College. The students dumped hundreds of thousands of pages of research into recycling bins," New York Times reports.
The Cross Examination Debate Association which organizes a good number of debates each year said that 25 percent of teams went paperless this year.
However a good number of teams are adamant that they will not go paperless.
Since most teams have been using paper since Middle School, teams like Northwestern University believes that changing now would disrupt the team's continuity, New York Times reports.
There is also little chance for a full change in the future, since most high school and middle schools are not intending to switch to paper.
Many debaters also worry about the risks of computer failure during a paper-less debate. Any computer malfunction can mean the loss of a debate.
So although paperless debating may be the trend, it will take a lot of work to make that the norm.