By Florentina Mion
“There are too many things to choose from!” “Why can I only choose three? I want to join them all!” These have been some of the things that the first years said in their IntRoweek when they had to choose which societies they wanted to check out during the society event. I had the same experience with my own introduction week; I could not quite make up my mind as to which societies I wanted to investigate.
In total there are 23 committees and societies and there are an additional few in the process of establishing themselves. I can imagine that as a first-year it is difficult to decide which society would suit your needs best. Also for the “old” students it might be a challenge every semester to decide which societies to join. Therefore, I thought it a good idea to give some of the more obscure societies the chance to present themselves to the entire student body.
Firstly, I’d like to introduce the Political Society. You might say that it is a very straightforward society and indeed I have found it to be so. The Political Society organizes events such as lectures and field trips that are related to political issues. They do not have weekly meetings but are nonetheless very active. They try to facilitate as many opportunities for all students to come together and discuss their common interest: politics.
Everyone is welcome and you do not need a background in political studies to participate in the events or discussions. They make sure that all the events cover a wide range of topics, so I am sure that eventually there will even be something I am interested in (and I usually do not like politics that much).
This year, the Political Society is trying to set up a MUN-team. For all of you who do not know what MUN means – I’m not familiar with it either – it refers to Model United Nations. This is a simulation of a United Nations meeting where every team will be assigned a country and all of the teams will be discussing a certain topic. If you are interested in this type of event, I advise you to look on the Political Society Facebook page where you can find a link to the group. Once the Political Society has enough interested students they will be able to create a team. Again, anyone is welcome and no background in debating, politics, or any such subjects is needed.
The Political Society is hoping for involvement from you! They are very much looking forward to their members’ input and participation, so if you have an awesome idea for a lecture of activity, let them know! You can like their Facebook page or become part of their mailing list by sending an email to [email protected]. They send out newsletters whenever they have interesting political stuff to share with their members.
So have you become interested? If so, Thursday 12 September at 20:00h, the Political Society has their first event. A lecture by Jan Brussee entitled “Some Moments in the History of European Unification” and afterwards some very political drinks in the Mug! Why not go and check them out?
Secondly, I’ll talk about UCR’s philosophy committee, PhiloCom. No, they are not a bunch of weird students that philosophize about all the different problems in life while the room is filled with hazy, blue fumes from their cigars. Rather, they are a small-scale, cozy, and interesting group of people that share their ideas while enjoying an amazingly delicious glass of ‘Notenwijn’.
They have weekly meetings on Thursday at 20:00h in the Mug where they sit together and debate about different topics. PhiloCom sets a subject, which they will discuss for about four weeks and every week they talk about a separate sub-topic. The aim is generating a discussion and developing a conversation in a comfortable atmosphere. For the coming weeks the topic will be science, and all of the problems and ethical issues that come with it.
You do not have to be a philosophy major (or minor), or even have a philosophical background to participate in these interesting meetings. They invite anyone who is interested to just drop by whenever they have time or when they fancy a good conversation. No research is required so you do not have to prepare to come to the meetings (for all of you who are already getting swamped with homework and assignments).
A special project that they’re working on at the moment and for which they require the input of their members is the blog kept by David Aiken, a professor of Philosophy here at University College Roosevelt. PhiloCom has been assigned part of this blog and their goal for this semester is to find a way of using this blog as a place to publish members’ reflections, and as an open forum to present one’s thoughts. Moreover, for the upcoming semester they are working hard on trying to arrange one or two lectures to offer a more diverse and exciting platform of discussion.
Do you like the sound of this chilled-out, laid-back society then do email them ([email protected]) and ask to be put on their mailing list to receive the weekly newsletter with updates on their meetings and activities. As a final message, the PhiloCom board asked me to quote Plato: “the unexamined life is not worth living”. They did want me to mention that they are not always this pretentious so do not be intimidated.
I hope this article has inspired you to join some societies you had not thought of before. If not, do not worry: in the next edition, different societies will be interviewed!
Florentina Mion, class of 2015, is a Literature and Art History major from Bladel, the Netherlands.