Sidd Singhal volunteers with the MNUDL as a tournament judge. We spoke with him about why he believes it is important to support debate as a volunteer:
I got involved as a volunteer because I wanted to give back, and debate was the place where I had the most to give. I felt that I was adding an impact in a unique way, and it’s been a passion of mine to be able to volunteer and share my passion for debate.
I started debating my freshman year of high school in Lexington, Massachusetts. My sister was involved, and I thought it would be a fun activity.
My writing was influenced by debate, and my interviewing skill in general. I have to make decisions every single day in my work, and debate gave me those skills. You understand evidence, how to make arguments, and you can think quickly.
Before coming to Minnesota, I was involved in the debate league in Dallas. In addition to helping students at the tournaments, I would also talk with students once a month about business concepts and other things related to debate. I found that whole experience incredibly rewarding. I stayed involved all three years I was in Dallas.
I worked really closely with a couple of students as a mentor there. And by the time I had left, the one student who had started as a rookie was a debate champion and was the first person in his family to go to college.
It’s been great to be a part of this community and to help give the gift of debate to young people. Some kids don’t have this community and when they gain it, you see how their life changes. Having something to do that you feel proud of is so important when you are a teenager, and debate provides that.
It’s great to share my passion and see the spark getting transferred. Seeing the growth in debaters as they take feedback and improve over the year, who reach out to me afterwards to say thank you for the feedback and the judging, that’s great. It’s a way to get them passionate about something that is so transformative. Being able to contribute to all that as a judge has been great.
I’ve just loved being involved. I think it’s great to see all the things that the league is doing.