Director of Forensics Megan Koch

“The Endowment for Forensics Fund means stability. We never know what our funding will look like year to year, so building up this fund means we can plan out the next several years, recruit students, and trust that when we offer them a spot at ISU, the team can be there for them all four years,” said Director of Forensics Megan Koch. “We have been here since ISU opened its doors, and the fund means we can continue to grow and thrive with the University.”

As Illinois State University’s oldest registered student organization, the Forensics Union—the University’s public speaking and debate team—was established in 1857. The team is open to all students and currently has 20 members. Students participate in competitions and improve their public speaking skills through the organization. The tight-knit team enjoys a close connection due to its size, bonding at practice and competition, and as a result of each member’s openness to self-expression.

The team has grown and changed throughout the years, but continues to carry on its legacy of success in part as a result of the Endowment for Forensics Fund. The fund was created by former students and faculty in the program, with the primary purpose of supporting the team’s travel. When that need is met, the fund can be used to improve other aspects of the program.  

In a typical semester, students compete across the country in national tournaments. Due to the pandemic, students have been competing in virtual tournaments from academic buildings on campus.

Senior Mycah Butler

Nevertheless, the forensics team was able to continue operating smoothly during the past school year. The team accredits this success to its alumni, university support, and the community.

Senior Mycah Butler, who is from Detroit, is the ISU Forensics Union president and has been on the team since her freshman year. “Our alumni are the team’s main support system—especially during the pandemic,” she said. “We couldn’t do all of this without our alumni.”