GWU Team Prepares to Compete in Eighth Annual NCICU Ethics Bowl

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‘Ethics and the Environment’ is Theme for Two-Day Event

An image of hands holding up a trophy with the words Ethics Bowl over the topBOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—A team of four students from Gardner-Webb University is preparing to compete in the eighth annual Ethics Bowl hosted by North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities (NCICU). The event will be held Feb. 8-9 at the North Carolina Legislative complex in Raleigh. The topic this year is “Ethics and the Environment.”

Competing for GWU are Artur Hofer, a junior youth discipleship major, Margaret Smith, a junior worship leadership major, Taylor Mills, a sophomore psychology major and Darby Yates, a sophomore biology major. The campus coordinators are Dr. Perry Hildreth, professor of philosophy, and Dr. Anna Sieges Beal, assistant professor of religious studies.

Yates, the only team member who participated last year, is looking forward to the event. “I had such a positive experience last year that I could not imagine not competing again,” she affirmed. “Ethics Bowl has given me the opportunity to find my voice and experience something entirely out of my comfort zone. We have a great team this year and I think we will do well.”

The team started preparing for the competition last fall, Hildreth said. The event consists of four rounds over the two-days, plus semi-final and final rounds. In each round, a specially developed case study outlining a complex ethical situation related to the environment will be presented to the teams for debate. The round is awarded to the team that makes the most sound, persuasive presentation.

“The students have been researching and developing ethical responses to issues such as the Keystone Pipeline, the Paris Climate Accord, fracking, nuclear energy, The Cape Town water crisis, among others,” Sieges Beal shared. “We are so proud of our students and their dedication to justice, civil discourse, and research.”

Approximately 60 business, non-profit and government professionals will serve as judges and moderators. “Students have an opportunity to engage in real-life thinking about contemporary ethic issues,” Hildreth observed. “They also gain experience in public speaking and argument, and have a chance to interact with students from other NCICU schools as well as government and economic leaders of North Carolina.”

A banquet for campus participants, judges, moderators and sponsors will be held Friday evening at the North Carolina Museum of History. Keynote speaker, Jay Barnes, president and CEO of the North Carolina Aquarium Society, will share his perspective of the state’s aquatic resources and the society’s work as environmental stewards.

North Carolina Independent Colleges & Universities is the statewide office of North Carolina’s 36 independent colleges and universities. NCICU represents independent higher education in the areas of state and federal public policy and raises funds for student scholarships and enrichment experiences. For more information about NCICU, visit

Located in the North Carolina foothills, Gardner-Webb University is a private, Christian, liberal arts university that prepares students to become critical thinkers, effective leaders and compassionate servants in the global community. Emphasizing a strong student-centered experience and rigorous academics, Gardner-Webb is a place where Christian conviction meets intellectual freedom. Ignite your future at