As Shruthi Deivasigamani elegantly admonished in her Oct. 18 column, “That the exclusivity exists for the sake of exclusivity and nothing more is something to legitimately complain about.” While I find myself agreeing with this statement quite profusely on nights when I have been turned away from the enticing beats rattling in clubs past the 1 a.m. mark, I occasionally appreciate the exclusivity that these members or passes only nights offer.
First, capping the limit translates to most party-raging hosts into being able to provide better “refreshments” as they no longer risk blowing through savings accounts to entertain random friends of friends of friends they don’t even know. Second, there are times when clubs are not solely being exclusive for the sake of being exclusive: Sometimes the “members only” call simply means that there is no more space because they had been so lenient in welcoming the general public. And it makes sense. I mean, who wants to dance in a space that is so unbelievably crowded that all you can smell is the alcohol and sweat wafting from the crowd?
I’m certainly not knocking the “everybody is welcome” nature of many eating clubs on most nights. But I do think that being turned away from an eating club because of the philosophy of “you need to know somebody” also raises the possibility that one day you will be well enough acquainted with the right person and get to reap the benefits of being in the know. And that’s not something to complain about. Just think about the bonfire last Saturday when all the alumni came back to celebrate the football team’s victories. While it definitely sucked to be stuck outside on the Street because the alumni had basically taken over, imagine how glorified and revered it must feel to come back to your eating club years after graduating and still be treated like royalty? Exclusivity allows for that — it allows for singular, “exclusive” relationships that are unique to whatever group you’re in. It may not be that bicker club or a fraternity you were dying to be a part of and it may not be perfect at the beginning. But pretty much everybody gets there at some point, whether it’s an extracurricular club, a co-op, a sports team or a theater troupe. Perhaps this is why we don’t hear as much criticism against exclusivity on campus from upperclassmen — most have had the time and opportunity to search for groups that share their values and personality traits. While this may sound terrible to that freshman who’s been on campus for less than a semester and hasn’t found his or her niche or that sophomore who’s been consistently denied by that bicker club, it’s just something we have to deal with. It’s life. In a way, exclusivity puts us in our place and that’s not necessarily a bad thing if we can come to terms with it, accept it and move on to find a group that sincerely wants us in its exclusive bunch. I guess for now we can only appreciate the University’s undertaking of mentorship opportunities and fostering of inter-class relationships, even for people who aren’t members of Greek life or parts of sports teams.
So while I wouldn’t go so far as to exclusively support exclusivity, I appreciate that it allows us to become part of the culture that defines our fraternities or sororities, our dance or cultural groups, our eating clubs or even our residential colleges. It is each of the many exclusive ventures that we’re part of that make us who we are, whether it is something big like heritage or figuratively small like that private party in Colonial. You could say that we’re all connections for something. We’ve all been that person that someone else needed to know.
Isabella Gomes is a freshman from Irvine, Calif. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.