What else can a debate club do besides tournaments?
In the history of US debating, debate was a pipeline to academia. There was scarcely a faculty member who hadn't been a part of, or at least participated significantly in debating as an undergraduate in speech communication departments. Whether this was a choice, or forced, or what, I'm not sure. The history of that still needs some development. What I am sure of now is that this is no longer the case, and the debate club goes to tournaments model might need some shoring up in the modern speech communication department.
Here is one of my attempts at offering an alternative narrative as to what debate programs do. I had three students put papers together about or related to debate experiences where they accessed theory in order to help them account for experience at tournaments. This seems to give an intellectual edge to what some might not be convinced are intellectual endeavors. It also helps answer concerns about the emphasis on competition that a debate club brings by definition.
Other attempts include community and school outreach, which I hope to post some videos of as well. I think that the modern debate program is doomed if it doesn't offer a menu of events that differ in perceptible ways from victories at tournaments. Basing your program on competitive success is not sustainable.