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Summer Speech and Debate Institutes

Summer Speech and Debate Institutes


  • 4/9/20:  Due to COVID-19 crisis, Illinois State has opted to remain closed through July 31.  All on-campus summer camps have been canceled.  This virus cannot cancel our voices and will not silence our messages; please check back for information on a Virtual ISU Summer Speech and Debate Institute!
  • The 2020 dates have been announced!  Public Address, Oral Interpretation and Debate will be offered July 19-24, 2020 with the option to add a weekend extension.
  • Online payments are now available – to make a one-time payment or set up an installment plan, visit our U-store at (please note, the system will not provide a total. If you need a confirmation of your balance please contact us).
  • Follow us on Facebook: and on Instagram: @isu_ssdi
  • In an effort to help more students attend camp, we will be offering a discount to schools who send us 5 or more Residential students.  Email Megan at if you are interested!  (some restrictions apply)
  • Congratulations to our campers on a fantastic 2019 IHSA State!  15 finalists!!  Caw caw!
  • We will be at IHSA State!  Come by our table to pick up your special edition of The Bird!

Apply to the Institute

The 2020 Institute runs from July 19-24 with an option to add the weekend of July 25-26 for an additional fee.  For more information please email or phone at (309) 438-8447.

  • Click here for the 2020 application.
  • Problems printing the permission form?  Click here for a printable copy
  • Deposit checks and payments should be sent to the ISU Summer Speech Institute Campus Box 4480 Normal IL 61790-4480.  Deposits should be received by the camp no later than June 23 to secure your place in camp.  After June 30, please contact us at to confirm any openings.
  • Online payment portal – to make a one-time payment or set up an installment plan, visit our U-store at (please note, the system will not provide a total. If you need a confirmation of your balance please contact us).
  • Click here for the Payment Policy.  Please read before registering.
  • Click here for the 2020 Medical Forms (to be completed and returned prior to Registration via mail, fax or email)
  • HIPAA Privacy Notice

We are proudly the oldest and one of the most successful student organizations on campus. We have placed in the top 10 at the American Forensic Association and National Forensic Association national tournaments for nearly 20 years and have won national titles 6 times in our history.

The highest level of dedication and commitment to excellence can be found in our Institute.

Institute Philosophy

The emphasis of the Institute is on teaching both novice and experienced students the skills and theory necessary to successfully participate in interscholastic speech activities. The ISU Summer Speech Institute meets all the recommendations of the National Developmental Conference on Forensics. Every participant will have an opportunity to work with an experienced teacher in small classes to prepare and polish their events. The workshop has consistently maintained an instructor to student ratio of 1:4.

Institute Staff

The heart of a dynamic workshop is, of course, the staff. ISU has assembled an outstanding group of successful coaches from both high school and college ranks. We also welcome successful college competitors as faculty, along with ISU graduate student coaches and members of our nationally recognized ISU speech and debate teams.

Materials and Lectures

In addition to event coaching, the Institute offers workshops and activities to educate students on all aspects of speech competition including tournament etiquette, team building, and peer coaching. Students will return to their schools with packets of materials to share what they’ve learned with their teammates.

Schedule of Events 2020

  • Public Address: July 19-26
  • Oral Interpretation: July 19-26
  • Debate:  July 19-26
  • Application Deadline: June 30

Event Details

Public Address Week

Extemporaneous Speaking, Radio Speaking, Special Occasion Speaking, Original Oratory, Original Comedy, Oratorical Declamation, Impromptu, and Informative (Expository) Speaking.

Oral Interpretation Week

Prose, Poetry, Dramatic Duet Acting, Humorous Duet Acting, Humorous Interpretation, Dramatic Interpretation, Program Oral Interp, Duo, and more!


Lincoln-Douglas, Policy, Public Forum, Congress

Weekend Extension

This option is preferred for students who would like additional coaching in argumentation, revision, joke writing and delivery.  Further, we will offer advanced workshops in team leadership and peer coaching pedagogy, as well as opportunities to develop a second event for competition.  This option is strongly encouraged for students who are applying to be a team captain or just want to be a stronger all-around team member.  Please note, secondary events are only available to students who sign up for the Extension.


Students will reside in double-occupancy rooms in the air-conditioned university residence halls. Sheets, towels, and pillows are provided. Mutual roommate requests are accepted. All meals from breakfast on Monday to lunch on Friday are provided. Housing for those attending both sessions will also include rooms on the weekend with staff supervision. We regard residence hall living as an important part of the summer experience.

Information on Hewett-Manchester Residence Halls

Information  on Watterson Dining Hall

Our professional staff members are responsible for the policies, conditions, security, and student supervision in the residence halls. Participants will also have access to Illinois State’s Milner Library, an excellent resource for researching public address speeches, interpretation events, and preparing extemporaneous speaking files. The structure, opportunities, and adult supervision available at ISU make it a first choice for concerned parents.

2020 Tuition and Fees

Residential students:

Includes tuition, room and meals.

$675 for one workshop; $825 for one workshop plus weekend extension

We will offer a $300 discount to schools who send 5 or more residential students.  Some restrictions apply – contact for details (discount is per school NOT per student).

Commuter students:

Tuition only – $325 for one workshop

Tuition + meal plan – $440 for one workshop; $490 for one workshop plus weekend extension.

The Johnson Scholarships:

Scholarships are available to students who demonstrate financial need.  To apply for an institute scholarship, indicate your intent on the application and email / mail / fax:

  • A brief (1-2 page) essay explaining your forensics goals and how camp will help you achieve them (some explanation of your financial need would be helpful) and
  • a letter of support from current coach or guidance counselor.  Letters should either be emailed by the coach/counselor on a school email account, or be printed on school letter head and signed.

Scholarship materials received after June 20 will be considered based on availability of funds.  The Johnson Scholarships are named for ISU alum and 30 year Institute veteran Amy Johnson.  Amy is renowned for her love of forensics and we are thrilled to award scholarships in her name to students who are committed to furthering the art, scholarship and community of Forensics.

Please contact us at if you would like to contribute to the Johnson Scholarship to help more students attend the Institute!

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