Renting the Hall
Thank you for renting Demosthenian Hall! Please read the following guidelines carefully before going on to print, fill-out, and sign the contract. Once you have signed and mailed in the contract along with the rental fee and deposit, you are obligated to fulfill the terms of the rental.
Renting Demosthenian Hall:
A Brief Guide
What is the Demosthenian Literary Society?
The Demosthenian Literary Society was founded in 1803 to promote the art of extemporaneous debate. For over 200 years, the Society has groomed generations of young men and women for success in life by teaching the fundamental basics of arguing and encouraging open-minded discussion.
The name Demosthenian refers to the great Greek orator, Demosthenes. When Demosthenes was swindled out of his inheritance, he went to plead his case before the Athens council, but was ridiculed because of his harsh and unmusical voice, weak lungs, and awkward movements. Plutarch tells the story of his rise to prominence. Determined to overcome his speech impediments, he practiced reciting as he climbed steep hills, and he defied the roar of the waves upon the seashore to drown out the sound of his voice. He shut himself up in a cave, shaved half his head to remove any temptation to return to the outside world, and polished his speech to incandescence by speaking with pebbles in his mouth. Through these efforts, Demosthenes became one of Athens’ greatest statesmen and one of history’s greatest orators. The perseverance and dedication of Demosthenes continues to inspire us to strive for excellence in all we do.
The History of Demosthenian Hall
Demosthenian Hall is the fourth oldest building at the University of Georgia and was placed on the National Register for Historic Places in 1971. Constructed in 1824 by Dr. James Tinsley of Columbia County, Demosthenian Hall has become the physical expression of a living tradition which binds generations of students. The Society’s minutes show that by September 5, 1829, the building’s $4,000 construction cost had been completely paid off. The construction was financed by the Society’s members, alumni, and friends.
Located on the University of Georgia’s historic north quadrangle, its facade in the formal Federal style forms a pleasing contrast to the later columned Greek revival structures which surround it. The front is graced with a Palladian window over a light doorway. The exterior walls are two feet thick and are of stucco over brick construction.
The upper chamber is the meeting room of the Society. The speaker’s desk has been dated to the 1820′s and may have been built for the Hall. The stump beneath the lectern is stood upon by members seeking office in the Society. That tradition is in memory of Robert Toombs, one of the Society’s more notable alumni.
While a student at the University, Robert Toombs managed to break most of the rules. Finally, in exasperation, University officials expelled him in 1828 several months prior to graduation. While commencement exercises were underway in the Chapel, he began to hold forth in true Demosthenian fashion under an oak tree located in front of the Chapel. He spoke with such fire and enthusiasm that he succeeded in emptying the Chapel. Legend says the tree was struck by lightning the day Robert Toombs passed away.
The simplicity of the carved mantels, window moldings, doors and deep paneled wainscoting emphasizes the drama of the ornate plasterwork ceiling medallion which is based on a template designed by Asher Benjamin. It is a medallion of holly leaves surrounded by swags of smaller leaves which are framed by delicate filigree. This ceiling is one of the most architecturally significant structures at the University of Georgia and is one of the few remaining examples of this form of decorative artwork.
In 1997, Demosthenian Hall received a $200,000 facelift. Financed primarily by alumni donations and conducted by the architectural firm Serber and Barber, the construction work restored the ceiling medallion and the rest of the Upper Chamber to its original 1824 layout and color scheme. The original hard wood floors were uncovered and restored in the Lower Chamber.
Why We Rent the Building
Contrary to popular belief, the Society does not rent Demosthenian Hall to make money. In fact, we generally tend to lose money on most rentals. The primary reason that we allow others to use our Hall is to demonstrate our great appreciation for the support we receive from the University and the greater community.
The Hall Rental Contract
The Society is the only organization on campus that has its own building. With this great privilege comes great responsibility. If anything were to happen to the Hall, the Demosthenian Literary Society would be held responsible. To ensure the safety and well-being of our building, which is a historic landmark, we ask that you sign a rental agreement. This contract can access at the bottom of this page. Once you have accessed the Hall Rental Contract, read it carefully. Keep the first page of the contract for your own records. Then, fill-out, sign, and return the second two pages to the address listed on the bottom of the agreement. If applicable, please be sure to enclose your rental fee and security deposit.
Payment Plan for Rental Fees (CHECKS ONLY)
The Demosthenian Literary Society has three payment categories that determine the cost of using the building for an event.
Payment category (Plan) A covers the general public. Individuals in this category should be sure to send in a $100 rental fee and a $100 security deposit.
Payment category (Plan) B is the option that student organizations should select. We do not charge student organizations a rental fee, although we still require that they send us a $100 security deposit. In order to verify an organizations status as a student organization, the group’s faculty advisor must sign the rental contract in the appropriate place. Where your advisor should sign will be obvious once you examine the rental contract.
Security Deposit (CHECKS ONLY)
All Rental Parties must provide a $100 dollar security deposit. If we determine that the hall has not been abused during the course of your rental, we will tear up the check. If the hall is damaged, left in an unacceptable condition, or terms of the rental contract are violated, we reserve the right to keep the damage deposit in its entirety.
Unlike other student clubs on campus, the Demosthenian Literary Society does not receive funds directly from the University. Instead, we rely on the generous donations of individuals like you to continue our mission of advancing public speaking and debate.
We would be honored if you would consider making a contribution to the Society. Your generous donation will allow us to continue to provide free hall rentals to the community and will help us achieve new levels of excellence. Selecting the box to donate your security deposit to the society is an easy way to help support a vital University of Georgia Tradition.
We gratefully accept all gifts, regardless of the amount given. Checks can be made out the Demosthenian Literary Society.
Prohibitions and General Rules:
As our hall has come to represent over 200 years of history, we feel obligated to preserve it for future Demosthenians. Therefore, we ask that you observe the following requests. If any of these rules are violated, the Society reserves the right to retain the security deposit in its entirety and assess additional damage fines as needed.
1. Please do not use an open flame in the hall. This includes the burning of candles. If your event requires the use of candles, DO NOT rent the Hall.
2. Smoking is prohibited.
3. As Demosthenian is party to the regulations of the University of Georgia, we do not allow alcoholic beverages in the hall. Please do not drink alcohol at your event!
4. Please refrain from bringing food or beverages into the upper chamber.
5. Please do your best to leave the Hall in a neat and orderly condition.
6. Do not break state or federal law. Please also abide by all the regulations of the University of Georgia.
Gaining Access To the Hall
The Hall Administrator, Mackenzie McRae, is responsible for ensuring that you are able to gain access to the hall on the date of your rental. Please e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Emergency Contact Information
In the event of a major problem contact the Hall Administrator, Mackenzie McRae, at email@example.com.
Check out Procedure
In order to ensure that we can continue to allow individuals to use our historic hall at low cost, the Demosthenian Society asks that all renters follow the check-out procedure outlined below. If any of the following procedures are not followed, the Demosthenian Literary Society reserves the right to retain the security deposit in its entirety and assess additional damage fines as needed.
Before you leave:
1. Pick-up all trash and place it in the garbage can.
2. If the garbage can is full, please remove the bag and take the trash out to the dumpster located behind the hall. If you would be kind enough to put in a new trash bag, we would be very appreciative.
3. Place the keys to the hall on the fireplace mantle in the main sitting area of the lower chamber.
4. Turn off all the lights in the Lower AND Upper Chamber.
5. Close the door as you leave. It will lock automatically.
Your rental helps the Demosthenian Literary Society keep the Hall in good condition. Your assistance will reduce the burden placed on our all volunteer and student run operations, and it will also allow us to preserve our beautiful 200 year-old building for future generations.
If you have any further requests, comments, concerns, or questions, please do not hesitate to ask. I am happy to do whatever I can to make your hall rental a successful and enjoyable experience.
Hall Administrator of the DLS, 2013
If you are interested in renting the Hall, please proceed and fill out the Hall Rental Form. We will contact you within one week letting you know whether the Hall is available or not.