Why join the Society?
At Society meetings you're among people who want to have meaningful conversations. We may not have ideology in common–we have members who are of the right, of the left, and who refuse to be defined by political binaries–but what we do have in common is an interest in thinking deeply.
We aren't interested in yelling about politics. Instead, often guided by intellectual, thought-provoking books, we try to look deeper than our ingrained instincts and talk about what's really important.
We don't expect you to buy any books–or to peer at poorly scanned PDFs. Members are provided with copies of the books we read.
That's right. On book discussion weeks dinner is provided for members. Society favorites include Nam's Noodles, Bassett Street Brunch Club, and El Pastor–and we vow to always avoid cheap pizza.
College shouldn't just be a time when pick up a degree in marketing or electrical engineering so you can get a decent job. We want to help you understand your own political and cultural beliefs and get at their intellectual underpinnings so that you are a wiser and more virtuous human being.
The Society is supported by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, a national organization that is interested in intellectual conservatism. Society members are connected with ISI conferences and opportunities like its prestigious Honors Program. Although ISI is oriented towards the ideological right, its events are always thoughtful and appreciated by students from the right and left alike.
What we expect of you
You get a lot out of being a part of the Tom Sawyer Society, and there are a few things we expect from you in return.
A membership fee. Members are required to pay $10 every academic year or $5 for a semester. This helps us defray some of our costs.
A reasonable level of commitment. You certainly don't need to attend every event, you're a college student, life is busy. But we do want you to be invested in the Society and giving it a bit of nudge in your priorities. This helps improve the quality of discussions for everybody.
Respect for all members and their opinions. Some of the best discussions happen when people disagree. Although the Society avoids strict ideological creeds, we do strongly support a culture of free and open discourse and so we expect members to be open to diverse points of view.