Ethics Bowl team represents Ripon at national competition

At the 28th annual National Ethics Bowl Competition held Feb. 25-26 in Cincinnati, Ohio, the Ripon College Ethics Bowl team won one preliminary round and lost three close rounds, ranking 26th out of 36 teams from across the country.

It was the first time since 2017 that Ripon’s team qualified to compete at nationals after the team placed at the Upper Midwest Regional Ethics Bowl Competition Nov. 11, 2023, at the University of Chicago.

Team members are Wisconsin students Lili Alderson ’24 of Ripon, Jake Hargrave ’25 of Markesan, Emily Karvala ’24 of Iron Ridge, Cally Stannard ’24 of Hartland, and Zoe Stephanie ’27 of Comstock; and Sidney McNatt ’26 of Vista, California. The coach is Paul Jeffries, associate professor of philosophy and chair of the Department of Philosophy and Religion.

Four of the team members were first-year participants and the other two members were only in their second year of involvement.

“I was quite impressed with our team’s performance at the National Ethics Bowl, especially since our team was so new to the process,” said Jeffries.

“Our judges routinely commented on how well the team did in their rounds and were surprised when they learned that they all were so new to ethics bowl competitions.”

The national competition has four preliminary rounds where two teams discuss the ethical implications of two of seventeen cases that were distributed back in December. Each round is decided by three judges who come from a pool of academics, various working professionals, and graduate students.

This event was held in conjunction with the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics’ annual international conference. In addition to the competition, Ripon’s team also attended a banquet held for the ethics bowl participants where Rob Bilott gave the keynote address. Bilott is the Cincinnati lawyer responsible for discovering the prevalence of PFAS chemicals in our air, water, soil and bodies. His story was portrayed in the film “Dark Waters.”

He encouraged the students to use their knowledge of ethics to help them stand up for doing the right thing, especially in their workplaces. His talk was like having an ethics bowl case come alive before the students’ eyes and demonstrated that people can make a difference if they take ethics seriously.

(Photo, left to right: Jake Hargrave ’25, Lili Alderson ’24, Sidney McNatt ’26, Zoe Stephanie ’27, Emily Karvala ’24, Cally Stannard ’24.)


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