Articles about Princeton’s eating clubs have filled PAW’s pages since 1900, the year this magazine was founded. One of the first was in October of that year, when editors bemoaned the way in which certain sophomore clubs “served as feeders” for the eating clubs.
That system, the editors said, “divides underclassmen into cliques before the time is ripe, before they have had a chance to rub up against the rest of their classmates. It creates wrong ideals of success. It brings out unpleasant traits of human nature.” The list of ills continued, but the article conceded that it was difficult to find a “practical, working substitute” for the system in place.
After a century of trying, Princetonians have come up with new recommendations — not for a substitute, but for ways to make the eating clubs work better for everyone concerned. In our Notebook section, Managing Editor W. Raymond Ollwerther ’71 details the report of a task force that studied the relationship between the clubs and the University. The report makes interesting reading, not only for its recommendations (including a proposal for a new bicker process), but also for a concise history, timeline, and survey information. It suggests strengthening ties between campus and clubs, including the possibility of “some University investment ... to help some of the less financially secure clubs get on a firmer financial footing.”
Task force members hope the report will spark discussion across the campus community. And if those discussions continue for yet another 110 years, you can keep reading about them here.
— Marilyn H. Marks *86