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The InterClub Council Responds to the University Task Force Report

The Inter Club Council (ICC) is greatly encouraged to see that the Task Force Report recommendations are aligned with the actions both in progress and already taken by the ICC (Interclub Council) over the past few years. Our shared goal is to help the clubs be as safe, accessible, and welcoming to as many members of the Princeton community as possible. The major themes of the
report are, at a high level, consistent with the initiatives the ICC has put at the forefront of its agenda as it becomes increasingly involved in shaping the club experience and student experience.

Concerning Diversity, Inclusion, and Community, the ICC is enthusiastic about working with the University on how to best cultivate spaces that are conducive to hosting diverse and vibrant communities. A major part of creating this atmosphere is a focus on safety. Our approach thus far has centered around our Best Practices Matrix, in which presidents from 2015 to 2018 have worked closely with other student leaders, the SHARE Office, and UHS to produce a written set of guidelines that better ensure the safety and well-being of our members and guests. We have established an undergraduate SHARE Liaison who attends monthly ICC meetings to guide us with related topics. Another result of this work is that now every single club on the Street holds full membership SHARE and UHS trainings in the fall from September to November, along with a training session for new members in the spring.

With regards to the process by which these new members explore and join a club, the current senior-class presidents have worked extensively over six months to develop major changes, including full street open houses during the day, language alterations to club marketing, more cohesive structuring and timeline of club events during club admissions, and changes to the preference window and process in which students will now rank all the sign-in clubs in addition to any selective clubs bickered. In a time of so much change, the ICC has been working to be as transparent as possible by communicating through the channels we have access to: residential college email lists, collaboration with USG, newly-created Instagram and Facebook pages, and casual Q&A sessions at Late Meal in the Frist Campus Center and SIFP-specific outreach.

And finally, regarding costs of membership, the ICC is currently investigating what options exist regarding institutionalized financial aid. We hope to continue partnering with the University on demystifying the relationship between financial aid and eating club membership costs to better inform interested sophomores that have financial concerns. As the demographics of the University change and the student population grows, we look forward to working with the University to create a dining ecosystem in which no student feels financially excluded from the great community club life has to offer. While limited in our options of what the ICC can do in isolation, we will continue to work hard to find the means to support eating club members and our admissions process will continue to be need-blind. However, we acknowledge that there is still quite a way to go here, and we will only be able to move forward via collaboration.

Looking ahead, the ICC believes that many of the major recommendations of the Task Force Report should never be marked as “Done” or finished because with the turnover of club presidents and different ICC Advisers, as well as with the evolution of Princeton, these actions should constantly be revisited and progress re-evaluated. For instance, fair and full communication about clubs is a charge that must be led with crisp intention every year. Information has to be updated, sources have to be distributed to every new class of sophomores, and marketing has to be clear and appropriate for the given social climate of the student body. Other recommendations require further examination and possibly need re-contextualizing, such as the choice to single out Greek life. It is unsuitable to discuss a single caveat of affiliations in club admissions without addressing affiliations as a whole (i.e. sports teams, clubs, etc). Princeton students pride themselves in the work they do in extracurricular activities and the leadership in every club is committed to developing a welcoming and diverse community of people in their memberships. It is the intention of no president to use specific affiliations as feeders to the clubs.

The Task Force Report and its recommendations will be an irreplaceable set of guidelines for our ICC and for the cohorts yet to come, and for that reason the ICC enthusiastically supports the report’s contents. The actions it proposes are fully in line with the goals of and actions taken thus far by the ICC. We are excited to continue to work with the University and other partners to improve the club experience and to make that experience available to anyone who would want to be a part of it.

Signed,
Hannah Paynter; ICC Chair, Cloister Inn President
Rachel Macaulay; ICC Co-Chair, Tower Club President
Julia Haney; Cannon Dial Elm Club President
RJ Hernandez; Cap and Gown Club President
Conor O’Brien; Charter Club President
Kimberly Peterson; Colonial Club President
Casey Swezey; Cottage Club President
Mimi Asom; Ivy Club President
Sarah Spergel; Quadrangle Club President
Elizabeth Yu; Terrace F. Inn President
Maggie McCallister; Tiger Inn President

For more information contact ICC Chair Hannah Paynter at hpaynter@princeton.edu

GICC (Graduate Interclub Council) members who participated on the Task Force also commented on the release of the report as follows:

Angelica Pedraza ’12, Secretary of the GICC, Graduate Board Chair of Colonial Club commented, “As a first generation, low-income college student, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to join Colonial Club my junior year at Princeton. My Colonial Club membership proved integral to my undergraduate experience. The welcoming, supportive, and inclusive community that Colonial provided meant that the Club became a home away from home for me on campus, and the friends I made in Colonial were, and still are, like a second family to me. Through the work of the Task Force, and the ongoing relationship between the University and the Eating Clubs, my hope is that the University and the Eating Clubs will consistently reevaluate their policies and practices so that all Princeton students, regardless of income and background, will continue to have the opportunity to choose the dining and social options that best enhance their Princeton experience.”

Tom Fleming ‘69, Chairman of the GICC, Graduate Board Chair of Cap and Gown, commented, “The GICC strongly supports the Vision and Guiding Principles put forth in the report, and we are pleased that the ICC is already moving forward with specific steps to help achieve them. Student satisfaction data collected over the years has consistently shown a strong correlation between eating club membership and high satisfaction with the undergraduate experience. More work is needed to prevent unintended consequences of certain university policies that incentivize students to choose less nutritious and less supportive options, rather than opting for the right dining and social choice based on the experience offered. It would be tragic if students from low income backgrounds that the university is so justifiably proud of attracting to Princeton are deprived of opportunities enjoyed by generations of Princeton students.”

For more information contact GICC Chair Tom Fleming at tff@parkhillcapital.com