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Meet Belmont Symposium, the university's newest club

A new club on campus emphasizes community and the debate of philosophical topics where all are welcome to join the circle of discussion, reminiscent of the Greco-Roman symposiums.

Belmont Symposium was developed by a group of philosophy students in early 2022. It was spearheaded by Dane Swenson, the president of the club and a freshman philosophy major.

Through its open forum format, the club welcomes discourse on any topic with “thoughtful significance.” Belmont Symposium held its second meeting on April 13, with 12 students in attendance.

“I wanted a place where we go after school or outside class, where we can get together and with people who are into philosophy and not into philosophy, really, a diverse community. Everybody has philosophical stances, but not everybody really gets to talk about them,” Swenson said. “But they can here.”

Belmont Symposium’s first two meetings brought discussions on identity and revenge.

“We’re hoping to have more conversations like we’ve had that can go on for hours in a thousand different places, and where everybody's got something to say,” he said.

The club seeks to be more than just a general discussion-oriented group; there is a hope for something deeper.

“I think if you're not doing philosophy to learn something, and more importantly, apply something, you're not getting at the heart of the issue,” he said.

Shea Gorman, an audio engineering major and member of the club, has already enjoyed the discussions.

“I think the ideas are very accessible, which is awesome. That's the goal, and then within that idea, I think that everyone can speak. I think that speaking is a barrier, but I think that once you overcome that barrier, it's quite rewarding,” he said.

Gorman has high hopes for the club’s future endeavors and involvement on campus.

“I think that we all have a lot of that knowledge within our own individual minds, but to put it out into a public forum, like a master concept, or we can make a conglomerate of ideas that we all can then take from and share. I think that that would be a great goal,” he said.

Swenson would like to see Belmont Symposium be more involved on campus.

“I am hoping to get involved with BOLD on campus, but I’m not sure where that will go. I think to be a good leader, you kind of have to have a little bit of wisdom, and have an understanding of ethics,” he said.

“Keep an open mind, we want people to be very different here. And sometimes that’ll invite a little head butting, but it absolutely has to be a safe space.”

Belmont Symposium won’t hold any more official meetings for the rest of the year but plans to reconvene in the fall.

This article was written by Braden Simmons

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