So, any of you who did debate in high school are probably wondering what type of debate the Philodemic engages in. And, any of you who did not do debate in high school (which is the majority of our members), are probably thinking “what and how do they debate for two hours?” Well, here’s the low down…
The first two speeches of the night are called the keynotes. They are given by two members and are typically between five and eight minutes long. The speaker supporting the resolution (affirming) goes first, followed by the speaker against (negating). Then, the floor is opened up to members until 9 pm. Any member who wants to speak can raise their hand and he or she will be chosen according to seniority—how long you have been a member—by the president. Speeches alternate between affirming and negating the resolution. Then, something very important for any non-member (someone who is seeking to become a member) comes up—the non-member speaking time. At 9 pm, there is a short non-member speaking time. Anyone can raise his or her hand to be called on and will have up to three minutes to talk. After this speaking time, the floor returns to members. Around 9:40, the floor closes and the keynoters give their closing speeches.
We do have a few people who will be playing special roles throughout the night and year though. These are our Officer Corps. The most noticeable is the Sergeant-at-Arms. This officer protects the president (Fun story about why that position became necessary), and he or she summons everyone into the room and presents the President. The President is, naturally, the general face of the Philodemic, in charge of organizing us, and one of our liaisons with the University. Then we have the Vice President, one of the best senior speakers. He or she is tasked with guiding the debate. Of course there’s the Treasurer (pretty straightforward), and our Corresponding Secretary, who communicates with our alumni. Next is the Membership Secretary, who will probably be the first person you meet and who is charged with keeping track of who attends debates and wants to become a member. After Mem. Sec. we have our Librarian (yes, we do have a library), Amanuensis (yay for note takers!), and the Signifier, who is in charge our website.
Our Fall 2013 Officer Corps