So you want to learn the Dis and the Phis 

If you would like to join the Dialectic and Philanthropic Societies, you must petition the Societies by delivering a ten minute argument on a topic of your choice and responding to queries about your speech, Society history, and yourself. The purpose of formally petitioning the Societies for membership is to give you an opportunity to demonstrate a genuine zeal for the Societies and their purpose. Before you petition you’ll need to do the following:

  1. Decide whether you’re a Di or Phi. Although petitioners may choose to petition either society, they are encouraged to follow the tradition unofficially observed since 1850. Dialectic petitioners from North Carolina are traditionally from West of Orange County and Phi petitioners are traditionally from East of Orange County. Petitioners from Orange County or out of state formerly could choose to petition either Society.
  2. Choose a sponsor. Every petitioner needs a current, active Senator from the Society they are petitioning to sponsor them. Every Senator wants to be a sponsor, so don’t hesitate to ask anyone, even if you don’t personally know him or her. The sponsor will guide you through the petitioning process, but you’ll need to contact them at least two weeks before you plan to petition.
  3. Choose a petitioning date. Work with your sponsor to choose a Monday meeting for your petition at least two weeks in advance, so that he or she may announce it at the meeting two weeks before. Also be sure that no more than one other petition is planned for that night.
  4. Read the Petitioning Guide. It is constitutionally mandated that every petitioner read this guide (attached above), as it provides all the information necessary for a petition. Refer to this guide for a detailed petitioning timeline, expectations for your speech, a diagram of the exhibited portraits, and much more.
  5. Read the Petitioning Qualifications.  This guide contains the qualities that the Joint Senate looks for in a petitioner.  While it is not constitutionally mandated that petitioners read this guide, it contains helpful guidelines to a successful petition, including tips on successful strategies for past petitioners.

Di Society- ca 1935

Additional Resources
After completing the above steps, you will have everything you need for your petition, but below are some extra resources which you may find helpful. Keep in mind that these resources go into more detail than is needed for petitioning, and the petitioning questions will come from the information in the Petitioning Guide.

  • Di Phi’s Governing Documents: our updated Constitution, By-Laws, and General Statutes and the individual Society Constitutions
  • The Dis and the Phis: an epic poem about our portraits, by President Emeritus Daniel Friedman, updated by Alumnus Senator John O’Connor, 2011
  • More Portrait Resources: the Di-Phi Portrait Index, low resolution images of our exhibited portraits, as well as the honors essay by Joseph Reckford
  • History Resources: various articles, chapters, and addresses covering the many interesting facets of the Societies’ history

Again, see our Petitioning Guide to learn more about petitioning and the Societies in general.