The St Andrews Union Debating Society is the oldest - and some might say finest - of its kind, founded in 1794. Nowadays, the Union Debating Society is a subcommittee of the St Andrews Students' Association. All matriculated students of the University of St Andrews are automatically members, and all of our events are free for them to attend.
The Union Debating Society is the only Scottish debating society to host weekly public events where we host a variety of esteemed speakers from across fields like business, journalism, academia, and politics.
We also have a highly successful competitive debate training program, competing at competitions across the country and the world. Debate training sessions are held every week during the semester, and are free for every student to attend regardless of skill or past experience.
The Union Debating Society also runs a thriving schools outreach program to support the local community and holds a yearly competition for schoolchildren: St Andrews Schools.
BOARD OF FIFTEEN
The activities of the Union Debating Society are supported by a committee of St Andrews students, known as the Board of Fifteen.
Elected at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) each spring, all members contribute to a specific facet of the running of the society and are dedicated to the continued success of the society as a whole.
HISTORY OF THE SOCIETY
The Union Debating Society was established in 1794, originally as a Enlightenment literary society. It is this continuous and documented existence as a student-led society of letters which makes the UDS the oldest of its kind anywhere in the world. As a result, the society has a rich and thriving history and an important place in St Andrews tradition.
CONSTITUTION & STANDING ORDERS
The constitution and standing orders of the Union Debating Society are now a part of the laws of the St Andrews Students' Association. They aim to reflect the modern day functioning of the society whilst maintaining our historic roots.