Many Princetonians, mainly sophomores, spent the first week of this semester concerned primarily not with finalizing their course schedule or buying books, but rather with the process of joining an eating club. We acknowledge the Interclub Council (ICC) and the Class of 2018 officers for their efforts to make this process more transparent by, for example, releasing a graphic explaining the various upperclass dining options and their costs. However, there remain areas for improvements to make this process clearer and less stressful for students. The Board recommends three reforms: 1) include as part of eating club registration on the ICC website a step requiring students to acknowledge and accept the spring dues for their clubs of choice, 2) like in years past, release the numbers of first-round sign-ins, and 3) encourage sign-in clubs to defer their initiations until the week after bicker.
This year’s process saw substantial confusion over sophomore dues, with some numbers miscommunicated to students. We encourage the ICC and club presidents to renew their commitment to making information about dues available as early as possible and to ensure that these details are correct in all places where they are posted. As an additional measure to prevent the surprises seen during this cycle, we recommend a slight change to the ICC website when students register for bicker or sign-in. The ICC should include a mandatory step requiring students to acknowledge their understanding of the dues for the clubs they have selected to rank. While this information is available on individual clubs’ websites and the ICC’s informational website, the only central site that everyone who joins a club must use is the ICC’s registration site. Clearly laying out the information about dues and mandating students acknowledge their understanding of the dues before registering for an eating club will ensure students are reasonably informed about the financial costs of joining a club before going through the process.
Additionally, in a departure from precedent, the ICC chose not to release first-round sign-in numbers. This left students who did not sign in first-round, whether because they were bickering or still deciding if they wanted to join a club at all, concerned and uncertain about whether the sign-in clubs in which they were interested would have sufficient space for them to sign in second-round. In the future, we urge the ICC to release its sign-in numbers like in previous years. More transparency would give students an accurate understanding of their options and eliminate another source of anxiety from an already very stressful week.
Finally, a number of sign-in clubs hold their initiations the day after bicker results come out. The Board believes this does not give sufficient time for students reconsidering a sign-in club after bicker to learn about their options, speak with their friends and family, and determine what would be their best choice for their eating and social plans. Given that students’ post-bicker decisions depend on both their own results and those of their friends, it is difficult to plan in advance for every possible outcome, and students need longer than a day to revisit their alternatives. As one of the first experiences new members have in their clubs, initiations are important for creating a robust club culture and community. Students who chose to sign in and undergo initiations right after bicker ends may feel they did not have enough time to carefully examine their options. Furthermore, students who missed initiations because they were still deciding what to do may be deterred from signing-in later in the spring after missing such a central aspect of the new member experience. To alleviate this pressure for students, we encourage all the sign-in clubs to defer their initiations to the week after bicker ends.
These three reforms will help make the process of joining an eating club more transparent and less stressful for students. When making decisions about where they will eat and find their primary social communities as upperclassmen, it is important to support students as much as possible, and we urge the ICC to implement our recommendations.
TheEditorial Boardis an independent body and decides its opinions separately from the regular staff and editors of The Daily Princetonian. The Board answers only to its Chair, the Opinion Editor and the Editor-In-Chief.