We are the Yale Political Union, the oldest and most respected student debating society in America. Each week, we invite a prominent national figure to deliver an address before the Yale community, and students have a chance — over tea, dinner, wine, late-night pizza or a formal debate — to engage and challenge those leaders, as well as each other. John Kerry, Karl Rove and Bill Richardson are only a few among the dozens of guests who spoke before us recently, interacting with students on and off the debate floor.
Since 1934, the Union’s purpose has been the encouragement of spirited and substantive debate on the issues that matter most to the future of this country. We use parliamentary procedure to ensure an atmosphere of open-minded civility, as we have since our founding; however, the debates are hardly tame. As the largest undergraduate organization at Yale with a membership of hundreds of students, the Union is always abuzz with activity, intellectual or otherwise. Sometimes the most interesting argument of the night may not come from the Supreme Court justice, Congressman, or political firebrand we happen to have at the podium that evening, but from one of our own fellow students.
We in the Union believe that our purpose is central to that of Yale. The open, yet rigorous exchange of ideas; the convergence of this generation of leaders and the next; the perfection of argument and oratory – these are what the Yale Political Union does best. We learn from our professors, but we must also learn from each other. Many schools may have academic rigor in the classroom, but it is only at Yale that we have the Political Union, a community with deep roots in history and tradition, and even stronger promise for the future.
The Yale Political Union has reciprocal membership with the Oxford and Cambridge Unions and is affiliated with the Hudson Union Society, where student members can attend events free of charge.