The Beta Lyceum is an internal group within my fraternity, Beta Theta Pi, that strives to fulfill our pledge of "cultivation of the intellect" by gathering brothers twice per week to discuss current events, controversial issues, and public policy. Secondary and tertiary goals of the Lyceum follow its name's origination in Athens, Greece, as Aristotle's first University. I began this Tuesday/Thursday gathering to allow for an opportunity for brothers (and friends) to come together in a social atmosphere driven by intellectual curiosity and brotherhood rather than a party. Our group has grown to approximately 1/3 of the chapter (about 30 brothers of 100) and generally lasts an hour to an hour and a half. Topics covered recently include Health Care, Taxing, Abortion and the Death Penalty, and The Media's role in government.
These discussions begin with an email outlining several ideas to consider and a list of sources for those interested. Participants circle up rocking chairs and compare proposed solutions, coming eventually to a solution of our very own. This comparative analysis keeps partisanship out of the discussion while provoking thought and building a constituency of well-informed voters. While I am very excited about the group's growth over the last few months, I would like to see it expanded to other groups on campus beginning with other social groups (such as fraternities and sororities), moving then to organizations with more specific goals (Volunteer groups would have much more specific topics than does the current docket).
In order to expand this project, funding for administrative expenses such as research, articles, and reserved seating must be found.