It was not just another Sunday morning for our students at Balliol, as they looked forward to the competitive Great Debate in the afternoon with our other students from Jowett, St Catherine’s and Queen’s.
In the morning, students enjoyed an extra hour in bed before they were awoken by our counsellors to get off to breakfast. Everyone then ate a hearty breakfast to fuel them for the rest of the day, and following this the students had some free time to use as they wished until the debate in the afternoon.
Students walked the short way to the Sheldonian Theatre for the debate. This building has a rich and interesting history and stands as an identifying edifice in the centre of the city. The whole group was impressed by the architecture and wonderful ceilings and there were lots of open mouths as we entered!
Once the theatre was full, the debate got underway with an initial keynote speech by renowned speaker and explorer, Sir Ranulph Fiennes. We were incredibly lucky to be able to hear the inspiring stories from this incredibly achieved man. He spoke extensively about his journeys across the world, his work in the SAS and finally his time working with the Sultan of Oman. Everyone was eager to ask questions and his insights into motivating oneself to keep adventuring acted as an excellent introduction to the motion of the debate, ‘this house believes that the most dangerous place to be is your comfort zone.’
The afternoon proved interesting with eloquent points being made from both sides. Balliol were arguing against the motion, facing their rivals Queen’s College once more. Our individual speakers showed courage and bravery to give their speeches in this vast space, and for that we applaud them all. Unfortunately, those arguing against the motion were pipped to the post by the others – sadly this meant another loss against Queen’s! We hope there will be another chance to even the score before the programme is completed.