Three students from Mary Baldwin University participated in the 20th annual statewide collegiate Wells Fargo Ethics Bowl on February 10–11 at Roanoke College in Salem.
Representing MBU on the debate team were Virginia Daniel, who served as captain, Sarah Lawson, and Faith Parker, all seniors. Associate Professor of Philosophy Edward Scott is the faculty coordinator for the team. They have been preparing for the competition all semester, meeting at least twice a week to work on their cohesiveness and arguing skills on a variety of debate cases.
They competed head-to-head against other highly qualified student teams from Virginia’s 15 leading independent colleges and universities, deliberating case studies that highlighted different ethical dilemmas.
“Above all, the Mary Baldwin University Debate Team will always defend human dignity,” said Daniel about the team’s approach to this year’s theme of ethics and social justice. “Throughout our time at Mary Baldwin, as we are all seniors, these are exactly the sorts of topics which we question, debate, and engage with on a daily basis in all of our courses.”
Organized by the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges (VFIC), the Ethics Bowl brings many notable individuals to serve as judges for the teams’ presentations, representing a variety of career fields including business, law, education, finance, journalism, and more.
“When all of our responses build on and support each other’s arguments, that is the best sort of feeling,” said Daniel. “Watching the judges as they’re swayed either way by an argument compels me to work with my teammates to formulate and execute strong, persuasive arguments.”
The Ethics Bowl’s style of debate focuses on the cohesive value of the argument that teams make. Two opposing teams could argue the same side of a topic, but the side that makes the better argument will walk away with the victory.
Mary Baldwin put in a competitive performance at the Ethics Bowl, winning three rounds and losing one. The winning team for 2019 was Washington and Lee University.