The Pen & Sword Society, a new student organization at the University of Miami, aims to provide students with the opportunity to engage in friendly intellectual discussions outside of class.
Patrick Quinlan, a junior studying international studies, founded the club to create a space for students to freely discuss issues of societal importance.
Quinlan explained that it will differ from other competitive speaking clubs in several ways. The club will not have too many formal rules. It aims to be social, with its focus on discussion rather than competitive argumentation, and there will be no membership limit.
“Anyone who wants to talk, can talk,” Quinlan said. “We’ll feature a couple of speakers who come prepared at first, but beyond that, will provide brief guides for anyone in the audience who’s interested, but might not have preparations.”
Last year, Quinlan and other executive board members worked with the club’s adviser Senior Vice Provost and Dean of Undergraduate Education William Scott Green, to create an open and informed format. Quinlan believes the nature of the student body is changing and that students are increasing in quality. He sees it as the organization’s responsibility to keep up the pace with this increased quality.
The club’s first meeting will be held from 8 to 9 p.m. this Wednesday in the Senate Room of the Student Activities Center. Wednesday’s discussion will debate the statement, “A college network is more valuable than a college education.”
Eric-Dillian Smith, who will be serving as the club’s moderator, stressed the organization’s new take on the format of discussion.
“We call Pen and Sword a ‘debating society’ as opposed to a ‘debate society’ to emphasize that we are not a competitive team with predetermined roles,” Smith said. “Our focus is on discussing contemporary topics with our peers. This means that people can pick any ‘side’ of an argument they want – as long as they can support it.”
The club will meet every other Wednesday evening, from 8-9pm, starting Sept 10 in the Senate Room of the Student Activities Center. All interested students are welcome. For more information, contact Patrick Quinlan at firstname.lastname@example.org.