VBI Philadelphia and LA Session I Will Move Online, and Virtual Labs Added for LA Session II

We know the coronavirus concerns are weighing heavily on everyone’s mind, especially as summer approaches, and we are sending our best to you and your families.

Swarthmore College has cancelled its summer programming until July 31 due to uncertainty about the duration of current public health requirements. LMU has moved its summer classes online, and we expect they will also cancel other summer programming through July. Because most colleges and universities seem to be headed in this direction, we expect that this will happen to most camps that are hosted in June and July.

  • As a result, we are announcing the following changes to our summer 2020 offerings:
  • VBI Philadelphia (June 27–July 10) and VBI LA Session I (July 12–31) will be held in a virtual format.

While we are still planning to host VBI LA Session II at UCLA (August 2-15) in-person, we are adding virtual labs for this session, for those who would like to participate in LA Session II, but would feel more comfortable doing so online.

For those already enrolled in Philadelphia or LA I, you will be receiving an email with instructions and additional details. For those interested in signing up for any session, you can REGISTER HERE.

While we are disappointed that we won’t be able to run two of our sessions on campus, our team has been hard at work planning our virtual curriculum, and we are really excited about the new curricular opportunities furnished by an online platform. Not only are we confident that we can preserve—with some adaptation—the best elements of our in-person curriculum (such as in-lab synchronous drills, and extended one-on-one Q&A with instructors), but we are also looking forward to giving our students a whole suite of unique educational opportunities that were not possible with an in-person camp. For example, our new modular lab design will mean that students not only get the benefit of in-person drills with their own labs on how to give a round-winning rebuttal, but will also be able to watch, after camp, how other lab leaders, with different emphases and at different experience levels, covered that same content. We promise that no debate camp will have put in as much time and effort in developing a virtual curriculum as VBI. 

However, if you want to maximize your chances of attending an in-person camp, we suggest that you sign up for VBI LA Session II at UCLA (August 2-15). It’s the mostly likely debate camp to operate in-person this summer. While not every camp has moved their June & July sessions online yet, we expect that host colleges will be canceling summer programing through July 31st to comply with state guidelines. UCLA is still planning to offer its in-person summer courses in August, so we remain optimistic about our last session of the summer. Our student life staff will be working with UCLA to craft policies and procedures to ensure that an in-person session will be held in way that maximizes student health and safety while complying with all government guidelines.