From Vanderbilt to the U.S. Debate Team

Daniel Ardity

Daniel Ardity, Class of 2024, earned a place on the U.S. Debate Team this year, an accomplishment that has allowed him to travel around the world while also continuing to hone his debate skills closer at home. 


In this Q&A, Ardity shares how participating in debate at Vanderbilt has shaped his student experience—plus, he explains what it’s like to compete in debate at the international level. 

Q: What led you to join the debate team at Vanderbilt? 

A: My path to the Vanderbilt debate team began during my high school years when I discovered my passion for debate. It was in ninth grade that I first got introduced to Policy debate, and I was immediately captivated by its challenge and exhilaration. Debate quickly became my No. 1 priority, and I dedicated myself to honing my skills and expanding my knowledge in the field. Through my hard work and commitment, I earned recognition as a nationally ranked debater, achieving a top 25 National Policy Debate Ranking in the National Coaches Poll.

As I prepared to embark on my college journey, I knew that joining a debate team was a must for me. Prior to enrolling at Vanderbilt, I took the initiative to reach out to the coaching staff and captains of the Vanderbilt team. I sought their insights and had conversations about the program, which only served to amplify my enthusiasm for joining the team. 

Upon arriving at Vanderbilt, I was eager to immerse myself in the debate community. The guidance and support from Professors Koch and Sandoz, as well as the captains at the time, further fueled my passion for debate. Their expertise and dedication were instrumental in shaping my decision to become a part of the Vanderbilt Debate team. The team welcomed me with open arms, providing a supportive and collaborative environment where I could grow as a debater. The friendships and connections I formed within the team have been invaluable. 

Read the full interview with Daniel Ardity here.

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