Houston Urban Debate League


Houston Needs You!

The Houston Urban Debate League (HUDL) has begun planning to assist the students and coaches within HISD and throughout Harris county. Thousands of Houstonians have been displaced and are experiencing significant harm. HUDL plans on being there for Houston’s students, debate coaches, schools, and the larger Houston community throughout it all.

We understand that Houston’s students will have significant needs, from immediate personal needs to the long term need of educational support. HUDL plans on being there for Houston’s students, their schools, and the larger Houston community throughout it all.

HUDL has received pledges of support from our partners at the National Urban Debate League (NAUDL), the Texas Speech Communication Association (TSCA), the Texas Forensics Association (TFA), and numerous community members throughout the country.

HUDL looks forward to working with these partners, and many more including our partners in HISD. HISD and the Harris County Education Department are working together to serve 20 new schools, as we go forward. The outpouring of support has been uplifting and we understand the Houston community can use that support.

How Can We Help?

Coaches, Students and School Employees below is the link for the survey.

If a HUDL student, coach, or school has a need related to the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, we want to know. Please fill out this request form and be as specific as possible when describing what you need and how Harvey has impacted you. HUDL is currently seeking resources to help our community and will try to satisfy each request as best as we can.

We already started to receive responses to the survey and we have taken into account what is needed from individuals. If you wish to remain anonymous, please type NA for your first and last name. Although, if you don’t provide and email or phone number, we will not be able to reach you.

We will not share any of your information with outside organizations.



Support through Mentorship


One of the most exciting and rewarding ways you can volunteer with the Houston Urban Debate League (HUDL) is to become a mentor. During this devastating time with after Hurricane Harvey we are in need and look out for mentors to work closely with a school’s debate team on an average of 1-2 times a month; although, some mentors have the time to meet more frequently. As a mentor, you will have the chance to forge strong bonds with your students as you help them succeed academically and socially.

HUDL mentors travel to their assigned school and work with the resident teacher-coaches to run debate practice sessions. Typically, debate practices last for about an hour and a half. This program is open to persons with and without debate backgrounds. A passion for working with urban youth can take a mentor much farther than years of debate experience. HUDL will be available to provide concise trainings throughout the year to help support all interested mentors.


  • Consistent presence at debate practices. Mentors may also wish to attend debate seminars, tournaments, and workshops.
  • Be available by email or phone periodically to discuss progress at your school.
  • Be a positive and affirming role-model who promotes the values and mission of HUDL.
  Mentor please remember that you will have to go through a mandatory background check and sign up for VIPS through HISD below are the steps to do so:
  • Visit the VIPS registration and information page to register and submit relevant information: http://www.houstonisd.org/Page/126421
  • It doesn’t matter which school you choose to volunteer at in the system, just pick one.
  • You will be asked to submit a valid photo ID (as specified on the information page) to the VIPS Coordinator.  The UIL Academics Department VIPS coordinator is Mary Sterner. Email Mary a picture/scan of your photo ID at [email protected]
Please be patient as we are trying to get back to normal from the Harvey disaster!
To sign-up to mentor or for more information, please email [email protected]


According to HISD an estimated 40% of our students were impacted by Hurricane Harvey. Last year we served over 1000 kids before the expansion to the 20 new schools with the Harris County Expansion. The 40% does not account the new schools in the expansion so anything helps.

The surveys that we sent out indicate that coaches and schools need resources and we started receiving information for it.

You can help sponsor a student or coach for $150 if not that anything helps to support everyone affected.

HUDL will be able to provide with Tournament attire and basic necessities.

No donation is too small.

Click Below to Donate!


Please know that the Houston community is in our thoughts and we are prepared to assist.

Please feel free to contact Eric Emerson at [email protected] with additional questions.

HUDL Program Summary

  • Free one week summer debate workshops for students and coaches.
  • Six debate tournaments during the school year, including a city championship.
  • Saturday instructional academic seminars/workshops led by lawyers, college professors and other experts on competitive debate.
  • Student and coach access to volunteer, debate expert mentors who are assigned to participating schools.
  • Scholarship awards for selected participating students to advance their knowledge at university sponsored summer workshops.
Mission Statement

The mission of the Houston Urban Debate League (“HUDL”) is to develop and support competitive debate programs in Houston-area public schools.