Tonight, with the first meeting of the Forum and the opening debate of the Union, should begin Harvard's active preparation for the intercollegiate debates. As the Yale debate last year showed, the work of preparation cannot be begun too soon. And, once begun, it should be continued with unabating interest and energy.
A large responsibility rests on the debating clubs in this work of preparation. For it is they who arrange for the contests, conduct the trials, and hold the weekly meetings which give training to the future debaters. But these self-imposed duties of the clubs, which they have so well performed in the past, are like a sail without wind if the clubs carry on the work alone. The greater responsibility rests upon the individuals in the student body. It is they who must arouse a live interest in debating and make the work of the debating clubs effective by attending their meetings and speaking at every opportunity. For in almost nothing else does continued practice count for so much as in public speaking. Repeated appearances before audiences and long practice in thinking rapidly and clearly while standing before them will make a forcible speaker of one who seems to have but ordinary ability in speaking.
Every student, then, who wishes to see Harvard regain her old place in debate should do his part by aiding the clubs in every way within his power and speaking at every opportunity.