FAQ

  • What is debating?
    Debating is a formalised exchange of ideas. It adds structure to your standard argument by creating positions and roles in a debate to which a team of two will be randomly allocated. Random positions mean that you will eventually find yourself arguing a point of view that you would not normally agree with, meaning that you will find yourself exploring new ideas and angles on a previously considered topic. The topic for the debate is decided upon just fifteen minutes before it starts, meaning that the debate concentrates on analysis and argumentation rather then subject knowledge. You will not find yourself at a major disadvantage because your knowledge of current affairs is patchy, but you will learn a lot about that subject and gradually form an opinion on it. Listening to both sides at once means you will end up with an impartial view then any textbook can give. You will also develop public speaking skills, with the ultimate aim of being able to convince anyone of anything regardless of its truth or fiction. An essential skill in the world of business.
  • Why join the society?
    • Improve your ability to articulate your ideas clearly and effectively.
    • Improve your ability to think on your feet.
    • Improve your confidence when speaking in front of other people.
    • Improve your knowledge of Current and Foreign Affairs.
    • Develop your ability to separate opinion from fact.
    • Learn how to prevent others from separating your opinion from fact.
    • Meet students from all around the country, and develop lasting connections with them.
    • Meet students from all around the country, but get too drunk to develop lasting connections with them.
    • Structure your ideas and improve your essay writing.
    • Learn how to defend a complicated concept without having to explain it.
    • You have nothing to do on Thursdays 7-9 except that essay or problem sheet you really should have started by now.
    • Infinite free hugs
  • When can I debate?
    We meet every Thursday for speaker development and an internal debate, and we will give you the opportunity to travel around the country for debates almost every weekend.
  • What happens at the Thursday meetings? 
    We first give a speaker development session, where you learn debating and public speaking skills. Afterwards, members are invited to present “Private Member’s Bills”, where they can vent about current affairs. After the bills have been presented, we introduce the nights motion for debate: teams are selected by our internal convenor, and the topic under examination is debating.  Finally, it’s off to the pub for beer and fun times.
  • How seriously/competitively do you take debating?
    It depends entirely on the individual. Some of our members will compete at a tournament every weekend, and we will develop their skills to be effective at this. Some people are only interested in debating internally, maybe to get over their fear of public speaking or improve their persuasive skills. Some people just come to listen to speeches, heckle, and make jokes.
  • What is there for beginners?
    We will introduce you to debating, help you develop your skills as a speaker, and team you up with experienced debaters so that you can learn skills from them.
  • Is it OK if I’m not experienced at public speaking?
    It’s absolutely fine, most of our members start this way. If the thought of public speaking induces panic attacks, loss of consciousness, or vomiting – you’re still welcome. We will make you a confident speaker in no time at all.
  • What do you debate?
    Everything and anything. Politics, zombies, sports, Harry Potter, animal rights, ethics, etc. Knowing about specific topics is not necessary, instead we teach members to identify arguments that can be applied to topics they might know nothing about.
  • How do I get started?
    Turn up to a Thursday meeting, we’ll have a chat and put you on the right track.

The Union

The Aberystwyth Debating Union was founded in 1872, and meets weekly to foster the use of debate as a means of exploring ideas.

Qui tacet, consentire videtur.

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