Dec 18th, 2022, 09:00 AM

An Exciting Year Ahead for the Debate and Politics Club

By Lola Rock
Students at the debate and politics club mixer in late November (Image Credit: AUP Engage/Debate and Politics Club)
As the fall semester comes to a close, the Debate and Politics club is gearing up for a big future.

As the fall semester came to a close, so did an exciting semester for one of AUP's oldest clubs on campus - the debate and politics club. 

The club finished the semester by gearing up for big changes in the new year, including new leadership, and preparing for major events to come. In spring of 2023 the group has a trip planned to Geneva, Switzerland, to participate in an annual Model UN debate. This opportunity to debate gives students the space to represent a country while debating political and social issues while also meeting students from universities across Europe. The club also has smaller-scale plans to expand within Paris and debate with other Parisian students.

“There’s a network of 17 universities in Paris that are all engaged in debating, and we’re about to join that network of local universities,” said Julian Culp, associate professor of philosophy at AUP and club faculty advisor. The fall 2022 semester is the first semester Professor Culp was a faculty advisor for the club.

This semester's members have been gathering for meetings and debates as they gear up for the year ahead. The club is primarily student-led, with the members regularly practicing debate and different types of debate formats. Club meetings include active debate, learning theory, and the discussion of current events.

Members study a range of debate styles, such as British parliamentary debate, which was practiced over several sessions this semester. Debate topics can vary from anything as serious as free speech to topics as frivolous as food preference. When students aren’t debating across the table, they discuss theories of debate, such as argumentation theory and different types of argumentative fallacies. 

(Image Credit: AUP Engage/Debate and Politics Club)

The club also gives students space to discuss current political topics, allowing members the time to debate pressing issues today.

“It’s more about debating political issues like the war in Ukraine or the energy crisis, inflation, these types of political topics just to have a forum where you can debate these issues," said Culp. "In class, there might not be enough time for open, free-flowing discussion on current topics.”

Many students in the club major in politics, philosophy, or law, but the club is open to all interested AUP students. “There is an open-door policy. Some students may have prior experience, but not necessarily in the debate format we practice in the club,” said Culp.

The ideal club members, according to Culp, are, “Those who are interested in controversial arguing about current topics and Students who are interested in politics but don’t want to study it in a major or in the classroom.”

From a non-academic perspective, Culp also stressed the benefits outside of the classroom. “Arguing is a central part of most everyday activities, whether it’s with family or the people you live with. It can pay off in many ways.”

When class is in session, members of the Debate and Politics club meet once a week on Wednesday from 6:30-7:30 in Quai-501. AUP students interested in joining the club can find all the contact information, meeting times and public events can go to the AUP Engage website.