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Why choose a summer debate camp?

Summer camps have taken on a much broader meaning than they had for parents of today’s campers who participated in camps 15-20 years ago.  Today’s summer camps have expanded to include a variety of types of learning for the summer camper.  A debate institutes provide students with the opportunity to improve their debating skills in an exciting and secure environment.  Students have the opportunity to meet and work with students who have a shared interest in debate.       

Why choose GDI?

 Students will have a first rate experience at the GDI. The University has been hosting a number of summer academic and athletic programs for years.  The debate camp is working with award-winning professionals in food services and student housing who have attended to the interests of high school students for generations.  Our teaching staff has worked at a number of debate camps and has the professional background to improve the skills of each camper who attends the GDI.

Should my student attend the policy or public forum session?

This question is often asked by parents of students with little or no experience in debate.  It is important to know that policy and public forum are two different styles of debate competition. 

Policy debate, as the name suggests, focuses on matters of domestic or international government policy controversies. Debates of this type center on one consistent topic throughout the duration of each academic year, and emphasize technical argumentation skills and depth of research. 

Public forum debates, by contrast, focus on disputed facts or value statements.  Less emphasis is placed on technical argumentation skills, and the topic varies month to month.  This increases the number of controversies discussed, but also decreases the depth of those discussions.  Public forum debates do not place as much value on research, and tend to be somewhat less time intensive as a result.     

While there are a number of other important differences, the brief introduction should make clear that both policy and public forum debate provide differing opportunities for educational enrichment, each with advantages and disadvantages. When trying to decide what is right your student, the GDI recommends consulting with debate coaches at your local high school and other debaters and their parents.  If you have additional questions about this matter, do not hesitate to contact us.

Will my student be monitored while on the UGA campus?

Yes. Students will be with their lab groups for most of the day, and there will be dorm residents who will do nightly room checks and nightly dorm supervision.  There will be residential assistants in the cafeteria with students for each meal. 

Will I be able to contact my student?

Yes.  We will have internet access for the students.  If your student does not reply to your e-mails or phone calls, you are encouraged to contact the GDI office staff. 

What are the dorms like?

GDI students will be housed on single-sex floors with a Residential Assistant on each floor. Except for our staff and dorm staff, students will be living with other high school students (not college-aged students).  Students will be housed in Creswell Hall ( and eating next door in the Bolton Dining Commons. Linen is not provided, so students should bring along a set of sheets, blanket and pillow.

What happens if my student needs medical care?

If a student is injured or sick, we will take them to the UGA University Health Center ( The camp cannot pay medical costs, so please send a copy of the student's medical insurance card with them to camp (or send us a copy to keep on file). If a student is seriously injured, we will call 911.

Can I visit my student?

Of course! If you'd like to visit, or would like to authorize someone else to visit your student (like aunts, cousins, etc.) please note this information in the student's acceptance packet.We will not release a student to anyone except parents and those explicitly authorized on the student's check-out form. The best times to visit are weekends, but alternate times can be arranged.

If your student is already at the GDI and you'd like to send them mail, use this address: 

Student Name

(Student Room No.) Russell Hall

515 Baxter Street.

Athens, GA 30609

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