Campus Club closes, future uncertain
After struggling to attract members for years and staying afloat through the financial support of alumni, Campus Club will close this fall. Club officials are working to arrange for members to move to Charter Club, according to emails sent to alumni lists.
Campus Club board of trustees chair Anne Lester Trevisan '86 confirmed the closing in a phone interview but declined to comment further until club alumni receive notification in the mail next week. Though the news has already reached at least two alumni email lists, many former members have yet to learn of the club's closing, Trevisan said.
"It's like hearing about someone who died, and it's something we want to do in the right way," she said.
While members and alumni acknowledged the club was struggling — only about a dozen sophomores joined in February — few expected the club to close so suddenly. The decision comes less than a month before officers were to move in.
With four-year residential colleges set to open in fall 2007, the remaining 10 eating clubs are evenly divided between bicker and sign-in.
In an email sent to the University band alumni list, Stuart Lange '07 wrote that the club's closing "came as a shock to the current membership; we had no warning that anything like this was on the horizon for this coming school year."
He added that club chef and manager Jane Osterman is working with Charter Club to move all of Campus' membership down Prospect Avenue. "Those of us who are current members will have to make individual decisions about what to do in the fall ... and there seems to be a desire on [Osterman's] part for us to move as a unit to Charter."
Campus Club president Dean Gill '06 and vice president and house manager Jim Dickinson '06 both declined to comment.
The trustees' decision to close the club was a direct result of low membership numbers in recent years, according to Lange. The club had sustained financial losses annually for a decade, with membership dues falling far short of the club's operational costs.
"Other clubs wanted to know how to help Campus out," said Gordon Harrison '68, a Campus alumnus who is treasurer of the Princeton Prospect Foundation and manager for several clubs. "They wanted to find ways to keep the club alive and to encourage students to join."
In February, the club returned to sign-in after being selective for the past two years. But only about a dozen sophomores joined, despite efforts to publicize the switch and special offers to those who signed in during the fall.
Campus became selective in an effort to become more attractive to students, according to trustees. In the spring of 2004 Campus used a toned-down Bicker process to select members, and the roughly 25 bickerees were all accepted. Last fall, the two students who bickered were both accepted.
The move to Bicker came after a unique selection process in 2002-03 school year, in which students who showed interest were invited to join at any point in the year, not just during spring and fall Bicker weeks.
The last club to close was the joint Dial, Elm and Cannon Club in 1998.
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