After a brief absence, the University of Rhode Island’s Philosophy Club is back in full force, hosting meetings under new leadership and structure.
In 2013, Philosophy Club was popular for its discussion-based meetings where students would gather outside of their philosophy classes to exchange ideas and thoughts about specific philosophical works or theories. The atmosphere was light and friendly and members could debate topics in a positive and intellectual manner.
These discussions soon gave way to people just gathering to talk and hang out until the academic aspect of the club faded. Discussion soon arose on whether the club was too laid back and if they should disband in order to colonize a chapter of Phi Sigma Tau—the International Honor Society for Philosophers—in order to be taken more seriously. In the process of doing so the club was disbanded and lost its Student Senate recognition.
In 2016, sophomore philosophy major Francesca Soluri is filling the position as interim president and has been working with the other interested and remaining members of the Philosophy Club to bring it back and implement changes in order to allow an interdisciplinary and inclusive environment that embodies the attitudes of the major.
“Phi Sigma Tau is great, but it’s limited to Philosophy majors with a certain GPA,” Soluri explained. “We want to keep the club because it welcomes everyone regardless of their academic background.”
Soluri and the Philosophy Club administrative team spent the majority of last semester planning and discussing how to have both without their discussions and events overlapping and ultimately decided to combine them.
“Everyone is welcome to come to our meetings, philosophy is interdisciplinary and we want to reflect that. So if you’re in the club and you meet the criteria for Phi Sigma Tau you will receive the recognition of being in the honors society,” said Soluri.
By combining the club and the honors society, members have access to more developed presentations and presenters that typically only the honors society would have access to, and the leniency of not having written work or anything mandatory due for the meetings.
“A lot of work went into deciding what the structure of the club would look like, and I think we’ve come to a decision we’re happy with,” said Soluri. She describes an average meeting as laid back.
“Each week we go over important administrative business that needs to be handled, everyone socializes, and then a discussion topic is introduced and everyone jumps right in.”
In addition to weekly meetings every Friday at 5:30 p.m. in the 193 Degrees Coffeehouse, Philosophy Club hosts different events, such as trivia nights where anyone who is interested can come get involved. The typical turn out for a single meeting ranges from 10 to 20 students, however Soluri says they are trying to incorporate a lunch hour because not everyone can make it to the Friday evening meetings.
The newly structured Philosophy Club is still in the process of filing paperwork in order to be re-recognized by Student Senate and will most likely be fully recognized by Fall 2016.
Philosophy Club is opened to all majors, and according to Soluri, is “a great way to learn more about the major and what philosophy can teach you in terms of how to think and communicate.”
Meetings are held every Friday at 5:30 p.m. in the 193 Coffeehouse located in the Memorial Union.