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February 22, 2016

SVSU students take home three first-place finishes at forensics competition

Saginaw Valley State University students delivered an inspired performance at a recent intercollegiate speech tournament, showing themselves to be among the top college public speakers and debaters in Michigan.

Three students won their respective categories and have qualified for the national competition.

Erik Breidinger, a communications major from Auburn, took home first place in the informative event with a speech on the topic of Nano Drones. Melinda Dinninger, a communications major from Saginaw, captured first place in the persuasion event. Baron McBride, a communications major from Waterford, finished first in the impromptu event.

Overall, SVSU placed third at the Michigan Intercollegiate Speech League Novice States Tournament at Hillsdale College Saturday, Feb. 13.

SVSU has empowered students to enjoy such opportunities, having started the forensics program in 2001 through funding provided by a grant from the SVSU Foundation. Amy Pierce, associate professor of communication, serves as the team’s adviser.

Rishawnda Archie, a criminal justice major from Detroit, also placed well for SVSU, finishing fifth in the impromptu event. Dinniger followed her first place finish with a fifth place showing in the informative event.

Each tournament includes events from three genres: platform/public address, limited preparation and oral interpretation.

Students participating in the impromptu category are presented with prompts typically in the form of a famous quotation or political cartoon, and are then given 90 seconds to write a four and a half minute speech. Participants in the informative and persuasion categories are required to give a speech over a recent topic, citing 8-15 sources and with full memorization.

Breidinger, Dinninger, and McBride, the SVSU winners, will compete in the 2016 national championship tournament held April 14-18 at Ball State University in Indiana.

In December, SVSU’s forensics team placed third at the fall Michigan Intercollegiate Speech League tournament at Oakland University. The next state tournament will be at Eastern Michigan University March 11-12. There are currently 15 college and university forensics programs in Michigan.