About Us

Harris Policy Analysis and Debate (HPAD) is a Harris Student Organization dedicated to improving the public speaking and debate skills of Harris students. Through debate nights and public speaking workshops, we provide a forum for students to engage with and discuss the policy ideas they care about while practicing ever-important speaking skills. We are not committed to a specific debate style, and instead prefer to tailor the format and scope of each debate to the topic and debaters.


Debate Nights - Once per quarter, HPAD hosts a Grand Debate Night, where students and professors come together to debate issues related to a specific policy area. For example, given the debate topic healthcare, two professors may argue the merits of single-payer healthcare, while student pairs may debate the role of social safety net programs in healthcare or how best to address the opioid crisis.

Workshops - Once or twice per quarter, HPAD will host a public speaking or debate workshop, where all students are invited to participate and practice their speaking skills. Workshop formats range from simple (practicing your policy elevator pitch) to more complex (doing a policy presentation). Workshops are intended to be a non-judgmental forum in which students care receive feedback on their speaking and focus on improving together.

Contact Information

Dan Snow, Primary Student Contact

Alena Stern, Secondary Student Contact

Allison Von Borstel, Secondary Student Contact