Meet the Society – Debating Club

Interested in improving your public speaking skills? Or are you an experienced debater looking for a challenge? Then the TU Delft Debating Club might have something to offer.

It all started a couple of years ago when a group of students came together with the common desire of starting a debating society. They laid the groundwork which resulted in the formation of an official student society in 2015. Now with more than 30 members, it is a thriving and fast-growing part of the TU Delft community.

The club offers a range of activities for people at all levels. Some people have prior debate experience, but many come as beginners. There are basic workshops on debate format to engage people with little or no experience and experienced members help newcomers to develop their skills. There are even opportunities to participate in novice tournaments for people new to debating. For the more experienced debaters, the club participates in several tournaments a year across Europe.

Seven minutes

According to Jorino van Rhijn, club president, learning to debate helps people become more confident speakers, which is useful in academia. The typical debate format involves speaking on a topic for seven minutes each round. “It teaches you to think clearly about complicated issues and forces you to make clear arguments,” he said. “And as an engineer it is quintessential to have good communication skills.” Debate topics are diverse, but generally include societal issues or things that the average newspaper reader could discuss.

Diverse group

Members of the club range from first year students to PhDs and researchers. “We have people from all age groups, faculties and interests,” said Van Rhijn, an applied mathematics master’s student. “It’s really diverse.” He noted that their society is open to everyone and tends to be quite international as everything is in English. And when the debate is over, there are plenty of opportunities for social activities. In fact, Van Rhijn pointed out that they often have the most interesting discussions when debates are over.

Weekly practice debates are held each Thursday evening at the TU Delft Library. And the club will be hosting its own debating tournament in 2017, welcoming a large part of the Dutch debating community in Delft. For more information on membership and events visit Debatetudelft on Facebook.

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