Debate Camp - FAQ

KU Debate Camp - Frequently Asked Questions About The JDI

Every year we get dozens of phone calls and e-mail messages from students and parents with questions about JDI policy. We want to do everything possible to familiarize you with JDI policies and procedures. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us via e-mail at

In the interim, we hope that the following FAQ sheet will help you get to know us a little better. 

Q: Do you offer financial aid?

A: This is probably the most frequently asked question. JDI is part of the bureaucracy of the State of Kansas. Our budget is set up through state channels and our revenue goes directly to the state to cover that budget. Any profit generated by the camp (which is typically zero) is recycled into the camp budget to ensure its continuity from year to year. We set our fees just high enough to cover the expenses of hosting our students here and covering our day-to-day operating expenses. Many students have been able to obtain financial aid through other sources, such as scholarship programs sponsored by state activities and coaches' associations, school scholarship funds, and private foundations. 

Q: Are there restrictions for leaving campus and the dorms?

A: Lawrence and the KU Campus are very safe places to live. However, we think it's important to know where debaters are at all times. Consequently, campers are restricted to the Mt. Oread Campus during their stay at JDI. Students are also not allowed to leave the dormitory after 10 PM. Everything you will need for entertainment, research, and food are within the boundaries of Mt. Oread, including two campus union buildings, fast food options, an arcade, and other recreation options. 

Q: How do I get from Kansas City International Airport to Lawrence?

A: There are several transportation options, including airport shuttle and limousine services, available on the Kansas City Airport's website. Remember when scheduling shuttle rides that registration on the first day of camp is between 2-4 PM and check-out from the dorms is by 11 AM on the last day of camp. Plan rides and flights accordingly. 

Q: Are there other transportation options?

A: Yes! Motorists coming to KU will find I-70 (The Kansas Turnpike) the easiest route to follow. From the turnpike use the West Lawrence exit and follow US 59 / K-10 (Iowa Street) south to 15th Street. Turn left. Turn right on Engel Rd., and this will bring you to a cluster of dorms. Because we operate a closed-campus, any student driving him or herself will be asked to turn their keys over to the Associate Directors for the duration of the camp. We do not want students driving around town during the institute. 

There is a Trailways/Greyhound bus depot in Lawrence, as well as an AMTRAK station. We are unable to pick students up at the bus station or train station. The bus stop is at a facility which is well lighted, close to the campus, and staffed 24-hours. Greyhound also tends to be much more time-efficient. 

Q: What happens if I get sick or hurt?

A: If you become ill during the camp a JDI staff member will accompany you to the appropriate medical facility. After we have received your camp registration you and your parents will be asked to fill out two medical forms. One authorizes the Watkins Health Center on KU's campus to treat you for illness and minor injuries. The second form allows you to be treated for more serious conditions, as well as after hours, at Lawrence Memorial Hospital. Students are reminded to drink lots of fluids and take proper care of themselves during camp as it can become quite hot in Kansas during the summer. 

Q: Can I go to church?

A: There are no church services on campus proper. For Catholic and Lutheran students there are churches on the immediate perimeter of campus that you may walk to after informing the appropriate camp staff member. If you wish to attend services for another denomination, please let us know. We will make every effort to see that you get to a church in Lawrence. 

Q: Can I leave campus on weekends?

A: Only with written permission from your parent or guardian and only if you are accompanied by an adult or designated relative. For safety reasons, phone authorization for departure from campus will not be accepted. Let us know in advance if you have plans to leave the campus. 

Q: When do I find out if I have been accepted?

A: Enrollment is based on capacity of the dormitories. JDI reserves the right to stop enrollment once the facilities have reached capacity. In general, unless you are notified otherwise, you can expect to be enrolled once your registration form is received. If you are enrolling close to the deadline, you might consider emailing your registration. An email will be sent confirming your registration.

Q: What should I bring?

A: Each room is furnished with two single beds, mattress pads, study desks, bookshelves, closets, and desk chairs. Sheets, pillows, and towels are not furnished. Students should bring a favorite pillow, sheets, blankets, towels, toilet articles, etc., as needed. Some dorms use normal twin beds; others use extra-long twin beds. Normal twin sheets will work in either case. The air conditioner in the dormitory is quite effective. We suggest bringing at least one heavy blanket. Because all students will be involved in researching and participating in a number of practice debates, it is important to bring the material and equipment you will need. The camp teaches students using paperless debate formats. You should bring a laptop, mouse, flow paper and pens. If you do not have access to a laptop you should communicate with the camp directors and we will try to provide one for you for use during the camp. You may bring stereos, hair dryers, computers and similar devices for your rooms. 

Q: Will I have access to wireless?

A: Yes. Every student will have access to wireless in the dormitory and to the KU network when on campus.

Q: Do I need extra money?

A: Sometimes students wish to purchase snack food, soda, etc., or order pizza or other delivery items from local establishments. You should bring that amount of money you feel will be sufficient to cover these expenses. None of these purchases are required by the camp. Resident campers will be provided breakfast, lunch and dinner but many students do opt to supplement their dining experience by ordering pizza at night.

Q: Do I need to buy evidence?

A: All of the evidence produced by the camp will be provided for you at no charge. 

Q: Can arrangements be made to meet with campus officials while if I'm interested in attending KU?

A: Yes. We are always interested in recruiting new Jayhawks from our camps. Depending on availability, we can arrange for you to meet an admissions officer, department chairperson, or professor. We recommend these meetings for college juniors and seniors beginning the campus search process. Please speak to us in advance if you are interested in making such arrangements. 

Q: Can I receive mail while at camp?

A: Yes. Mail from home can be sent to the camper, care of the Jayhawk Debate Institute, directly to the dorms. We will include the address when we have confirmation of our housing arrangements for this summer. 

Q: How do I contact my child while they are at camp?

A:  At registration, we will provide additional emergency contact information (generally a cell phone number for the camp director). If you child carries a cell phone, there are certainly benefits to having them bring it to camp. If you are leaving your home (the home address on your child's application) for any lengthy time during the camp, please make sure to give us additional information on how to contact you (or a relative, if need be) should the need arise!

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