A bit more information:
Before considering whether you’d like to interview for membership
in the Jefferson Literary and Debating Society, you may want to find out
more about the organization — you can start by reading a
brief description of the Society (or read an
in-depth look at the Society’s history). Students and faculty are generally
most familiar with the Society through the speaker
series, which always garners much attention.
The speaker programs, though, fill only a small portion of the meetings; the rest of the night
is filled with various debates, literary readings, and speeches.
the first full week of classes each semester, the Jefferson Society spends
a week interviewing University students for prospective membership. This
first hurdle in becoming a member is very competitive:
of the nearly 200 men and women who interview each semester, only about
35 become probationary members. Interviews this semester will be conducted
the in Jefferson Hall, a.k.a. Hotel C on the West
From the Chapel, follow the West Range arcade toward the Amphitheater:
you’ll find Jefferson Hall sandwiched between rooms 21 and 23.
Monday through Friday, interviews will run from noon until 5:00p.m.
interviews will run from 7:00p.m. until 9:00p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday.
No appointment is necessary and you do not need to bring a résumé. Each interview typically lasts between
30 and 45 minutes, although you may need to wait for as long
as 45 minutes for their interview to begin. Candidates are strongly encouraged to interview earlier in the week to avoid longer wait times.
Among other qualities, the Society looks for undergraduate and graduate
students who are articulate, can sustain and participate in lively debate,
are open-minded toward dissenting opinions, and appreciate literature.
Interviews are designed to test applicants’ abilities to elucidate
and defend a position and to think and speak clearly in the face of
often intense and occasionally hostile questioning by the interviewers. Interviewees
need not have previous experience in debate, public speaking or creative
writing. The Society does not discriminate in its membership or membership
policies based on age, citizenship, color, disability, gender, race,
religion, national origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation or status
as a disabled Veteran or Veteran of the Vietnam era. Students can interview only once per
semester. Those who are not accepted as probationaries this semester
are invited and encouraged to interview again in the future.
Applicants who pass an interview are invited to become probationary members
of the Jefferson Society. Probationary membership lasts the entire semester.
During the semester, probationaries must fulfill certain requirements,
including minimum attendance requirements; the completion of several public
service hours; and the presentation of a speech, debate, or short work
of fiction. Most probationaries are invited to become regular members
upon the completion of these requirements.
Interviewees are invited to attend several additional events throughout the week of interviews. The first is a
cookout the evening of Wednesday, September 5th outside Jefferson Hall from 7-8:30 PM. Food and drink will be provided by the Society.
On Thursday, September 6th, the Society will host a Smoker (you don’t need to smoke) outside the Society’s Lawn Room, 7 West from 9-10 PM.
On Friday, September 7th, interviewees are invited to attend Sippers at Room 7, West Lawn from 5-6 PM.
Finally, interviewees are encouraged to attend the Society's regular Friday night meeting in Jefferson Hall.
Our speaker will begin promptly at 7:30 PM (the doors will be locked; entrance and egress is not permitted during speaker programs);
interviewees and their guests should arrive no later than 7:15 PM. The program will be followed by one or two mock probationary presentations.
These events are all phenomenal opportunities to ask questions and to get to know members of the Society and fellow interviewees.
All interviewees are strongly encouraged to attend.
If you have any questions whatsoever about the interview process or
the various interview week events, please do not hesitate to speak with
the Membership Committee Chair, whose contact information will soon be posted here.
If you want to receive additional information or future mailings about interviews, you can give us your contact information here.
Thank you for taking the time to find out more about the Jefferson Literary
and Debating Society.