The Jefferson Literary and Debating Society is a peculiar institution. Almost as old as the University of Virginia itself, the Jefferson Society was, is, and will continue to be the answer to the question: how can I make my time at this University more worthwhile? The original 16 members decided that a Society of students, diverse in academic interest but united in their willingness and desire to speak frankly on these interests would further their goals of self-improvement and the University’s goals of forging citizens able to engage in the world around them.
Yet despite its near 200-year history, the Jefferson Society is fundamentally composed of students, and like any student organization, changes as the students themselves change. The Society I joined as a first year in Fall of 2016 was very different from the one which I have the great privilege to preside over for the Fall of 2019, and I believe wholeheartedly that my successor in Fall of 2022 will feel exactly the same.
It’s not exactly fair to say that there is no other organization here like the Jefferson Society. After all, many organizations at the University–from book clubs to Greek life to Student Council– were modeled after the Literary and Debating Societies of the time, and so bear at least some resemblance. Yet none hold so tightly to the original goal; improve yourself to improve the world.
If you would be interested in joining us on this endeavor, feel free to come out the first week of September and see what we’re about.
Haec Olim Meminisse Iuvabit,
Daniel R. Jachim
President, Fall 2019