Marian Miner Cook

A distinctive
feature of social and
cultural life at CMC


Around the World at the Ath: Thanksgiving

Mon, November 20, 2023
Dinner Program
The ASCMC Social Life Working Group and the Claremont Colleges Debate Union

The Athenaeum and ASCMC's Social Life Working Group present this fall's final installment of Around the World at the Ath, a new series designed to combine faculty and student expertise about international cultures and traditions with great cuisine, music, and fun programming. For this installment, we return to the United States to celebrate Thanksgiving -- or do we? One Thanksgiving "tradition" in America is debate: from pecan pie vs. pumpkin pie to sweet potatoes vs. yams, not to mention "livelier" family disputes, Americans love to disagree at the dinner table.

To celebrate this American tradition, we bring back the Claremont Colleges Debate Union for a lighthearted take on one of our most popular programs, Debate Night at the Ath. The evening's proposition: "Americans should celebrate Thanksgiving!" Join us for a festive meal, while participating in the debate through heckling, moderated discussion, and a final vote.

Crystal Widado '27, moderator, is in their first year at CMC. In the Debate Union, they help coordinate national and international education outreach initiatives, including middle school and high school leagues, workshops, and summer residential programs.

Louis Layman '26, debater, directs Debate Union professional communication programs, including townhall reviews of Republican candidate debates, a guest lecture on photographic atomic history by the former Artist-in-Residence at Cal Tech, and the Debate Union’s public policy podcast series, Uncommon Ground. As a high school student, he won top international debate competitions in China and Vietnam.

Yui Kurosawa '26, debater, is one of the top public performers for the Debate Union, participating in panel discussions, presidential debate commentary, and public debates.

The Claremont Colleges Debate Union (CCDU), directed by John Meany, is a 5C program centered at Claremont McKenna College; it is among the largest and most successful college debating societies in the nation. The Debate Union offers three major debate and communication programs – intercollegiate competitive debating, public/professional communication training and events, and educational outreach. Programming is national and international. Students may participate in any or all programming.

Members of the CCDU attend 25 or more debate tournaments each year. CCDU teams have won 5 national championships (varied formats) and placed second five times, ranked in the nation’s top ten in 24 of the past 29 years, and received many, many hundreds of team and individual awards at major national and international competitions. Additionally, the CCDU's Public Debate Program has served hundreds of thousands of middle and high school students in the US and in 39 other countries, primarily representing socially and economically marginalized communities. CCDU students produce text and video curricular materials, conduct educational research, direct instructional seminars for secondary school teachers and students, manage tournament operations, and judge at competitions. The Public Debate Program's US middle school national debate championship is now the largest debate tournament competition in the country.

Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum

Claremont McKenna College
385 E. Eighth Street
Claremont, CA 91711

Phone: (909) 607-8244


Phone: (909) 621-8244
Fax: (909) 621-8579