A typical day at VBI begins with breakfast at 8:30am. We require students (except commuters) to attend the most important meal of the day so that they have time to wake up and focus. We generally eat lunch from noon to 1pm, and dinner from 5pm to 7pm. The rest of the day contains five main curricular components:

  • Modules are elective offerings that allow students to design their own curriculum tailored to their goals and interests. Module topics range from philosophical issues to skills workshops, and their formats range from lecture and discussion seminar to drills and other exercises. On most days, students attend two modules in the morning, starting at 9am.
  • Each student is assigned a faculty mentor, with whom they meet one-on-one at least every other day, after modules. The mentor program provides continuous feedback and oversight of each student's personal curriculum. 
  • Students are placed in small labs with two or three instructors based on their debate experience, competitive goals, and interests. Most days contain an afternoon lab (1–4pm) and an evening lab (6–8pm). 
  • Students debate at least ten practice rounds in the afternoon over the course of camp. The first week's practice rounds occur within labs. The second week's practice rounds are preliminary debates for the camp tournament, and they occur throughout the whole camp. 
  • At Socrates Hour, students have the opportunity to meet with any instructor at VBI. They can do drills, discuss cases, review modules, or just talk about debate.  

The 3 of 4 students who share a mentor become a team during the camp tournament, and each team meets together at the end of the day. Most days activities will end between 9:30pm and 10pm. There is a "free day" over the weekend, which provides students a restful break from debate. 

click the image to see an example of a day's schedule

Socrates Hour and Mentoring

click to see sample modules