The UH Forensics team is aiming toward another successful year as they gear up for a semester of debate and social work. The Forensics Society aims to help students get over their fear of public speaking while giving back to the community.
“Until the mid 90s, UH had a very well established speech department, but (now) no longer offers it,” said program director Michael Fain. “We’re giving students a chance to participate and get rid of the greatest fear of adults which is public speaking. We get (members) in front of audiences to get rid of their fear.”
After being resurrected by Fain in 2001, the Forensics Society has won national titles in various competitions, including the Outstanding Community Service award given by Delta Sigma Rho National Speech Fraternity in 2005 and 2006.
“The main purpose of the program is to provide some sort of forensic outlet for the greater Houston community,” said Fain. “We won 10 national championships just this past year. We’ve won 35 national championships since the organization started back up in 2002. The reason why we have over 300 members is because we have folks that only volunteer or only judge, but you cannot only compete. Winning will always happen, but it has to be achieved first.”
This fall, the Forensics Society will be hosting two contests: one for middle school students and another for high school students. They will also host 29 other on-campus events. The organization will also be involved in 17 competitions held across the US throughout the academic year. Travel, food and contest expenses are provided for active members of the program. Volunteer projects will include Star of Hope luncheons, a Thanksgiving presentation to the Depelchin Orphanage and tutoring low income students in the community.
“I started forensics at the age of 10. I didn’t grow up in a typical environment. Both of my parents were blind. Because of this, I pay a lot of attention to physical development, and I got that by watching my parents and their body language,” said Fain.