Once again, UBC Okanagan professors are being called upon to share their expertise and help save the world. But this year, it involves going back in time to right the wrongs of humanity.
The annual Life Raft Debate is a fun way to showcase the talents of professors by using an “end-of-the-world” premise, explains Lyndsey Chesham, Society of Scholars program assistant and a fourth-year microbiology student. The professors must do their best to sway the audience to earn the last seat on the life raft. However, this year it’s a seat in a time machine.
“For this year’s debate, humans have made an irrevocable mistake leading to our demise,” Chesham says. “Our only option is an experimental time machine capable of sending someone on a one-way trip to the first known human civilization.”
The catch? There is only one seat in the time machine. Not only must the time traveller win the debate, they must—without any modern technology—be able to influence society to not make the same mistakes. It’s up to them to prevent the downfall of the human race.
“Our traveller must assert the importance of their discipline in order to lead the ancient society, fix the mistakes of the past, and lead us to a brighter, more promising future,” says Lyndsey. “But we must also question if it is even worth sending anyone back at all. It’s up to our audience to decide who we send, or if we even bother.”
Competing for the chance to time travel include chemistry’s Dr. Tamara Freeman, creative writing’s Michael V. Smith, engineering’s Dr. Vicki Komisar, psychology’s Dr. Liane Gabora and management’s Tamara Ebl. Associate Dean of Research Dr. Dean Greg Garrard will play the role of devil’s advocate, suggesting no one deserves to go back in time.
After all the words are spoken, the audience—using Zoom technology—will decide if someone does go back and restart society. And who it will be.
“The Society of Scholars brought this student-led event to UBCO to give students a chance to get to know their professors through the scope of a light-hearted and fun event,” adds Chesham. “Our debaters get very passionate and it is wonderful to see the professors speak about their life’s work so enthusiastically.”
New this year will be opening remarks from UBC President Santa Ono and closing remarks from UBCO’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Principal Lesley Cormack.
The Life Raft Debate takes place Wednesday, January 26 at 7 pm. It is a free, virtual presentation and follows with a question and answer session. To register or find out more, visit: students.ok.ubc.ca/life-raft