New eating club presidents hope to improve member events, sense of community| Feb 18, 2016
All of the eating clubs with the exception of Tiger Inn have elected their Class of 2017 presidents for the coming year.
Cannon Club elected Keelan Smithers '17 for its president, and Sean Poosson '17 got elected for Cap & Gown Club. Lorena Grundy '17 got elected as president of Charter Club, Sam Smiddy '17 for Cloister Inn, Christopher Yu '17 for Colonial Club and Danny Baer '17 for Cottage Club. Ivy Club elected Mina Para '17 as its president, while Yekaterina Panskyy '17 got elected for Quadrangle Club, Nicholas Horvath '17 for Terrace Club and Romie Desrogène '17 for Tower Club.
The earliest club to elect its president was Charter, which elected Grundy president in late November, while the latest is Tiger Inn, which has yet to elect a president.
Smiddy, who was elected in early December and took office on Jan. 1, said he thought everything at Cloister went well last year and is not planning to make any major changes, aside from bolstering club membership.
“My number one goal is to get a large sign-in class, which I think is the number one goal of any other sign-in club president," he said.
Smiddy said he hopes to keep members involved and increase the number of member events.
“I think that's about all I need to do,” he said, and added that the specifics of additional members events have yet to be determined.
Grundy explained that one of her goals as Charter president is to make sure that the club officers listen to member input, rather than just doing what they think members want.
"My biggest priority [is] trying to make sure that we as officers are making Charter what our members really want it to be,” she said.
She noted that some input from members has revolved around specific Charter events and that one of her goals is to help rebrand Charter Friday.
"The biggest specific thing we've been trying to address from last year is how Charter Friday works for members, because last year there weren't really a lot of members who came to Charter Fridays that often,” Grundy explained, “That sort of seems contrary to the point of having a party at our club if we want it to be something that our own members can enjoy."
Poosson, who was newly elected the president of Cap at the beginning of February, said that he hopes to bring together the new and old members of the club.
"One thing we look to continue doing is to welcome our sophomores this year, and really try to make them more involved members of the club,” he explained, “As sophomores you only get a couple meals in clubs a week… we've really been reaching out and trying to get them involved.”
Yu, who was elected president of Colonial in mid-December and took over officially in January, explained that his vision for Colonial is to continue to make it a warm and welcoming environment.
"Our goal here always is to make Colonial a club that's like a home away from home,” he said.
Yu added that Colonial will strive to keep its sense of community by having “family” initiatives where club members are paired for trivia or field day events. Colonial has a variety of community service initiatives and elaborate study breaks, he explained.
The club also makes care packages for its members during finals and recently hosted a member appreciation dinner, according to Yu. He added that he hopes to increase its academic involvement by hosting professor dinner series and study groups.
One of the reasons that Yu ran for Colonial president was that he was dissatisfied with his residential college experience in Wilson.
“I felt like the community I had at Wilson, the community I had at these res colleges, they just weren't enough. They weren't intimate enough; people didn't get to know each other enough,” he explained. "Princeton is such a rigorous environment that you need a home away from home."
Yu noted that one of his goals for the year is to continue to recognize Colonial's history and progressive legacy, as Colonial, along with Terrace, was the first club to accept men and women. It was also one of the first to shift to a sign-in system.
"We're continually striving to make Colonial a safe environment that's very, very aware of sexual misconduct and interpersonal violence that happens on college campus," he said.
This was particularly a concern last year; some clubs made national news as a result of concerns surrounding certain events arose, he said.
Yu said that Colonial will continue being a safe and open environment to all members. As a testament to this dedication, Colonial's gender balance is close to 50/50, he added.
"We are really, really, really passionate about making our community very welcoming," he said.
One of his goals as president is to show how important eating clubs can be for the University community, he noted.
"I want to show the national community, I want to show the Princeton community, I want to show the University and the University officials that Colonial and eating clubs is a good institution,” he said.
In terms of challenges for the coming year, several presidents noted that while they do not foresee anything specific, they are ready to take on issues as they arise.
“The point of my job is dealing with unforeseen challenges that come up,” Grundy said.
When asked if he anticipates any challenges to tackle next year, Poosson said that he doesn't as of now, as it is still early in the year.
"I know I have a really good officer corps, and I trust in all of us to really take challenges as they come and be proactive, and trying to mitigate as much of that as possible," he said.
Grundy explained that since elections have been in progress for the past several months, the Interclub Council meetings have been with a combination of outgoing Class of 2016 presidents and new Class of 2017 presidents. She said that it has been useful to meet with both juniors and seniors, and that she is looking forward to having all of the Class of 2017 presidents together soon.
The Interclub Council, which is comprised of the presidents of all eleven eating clubs, meets weekly to discussprojects, club policies and best practices to ensure a safe environment for all members and visitors to the clubs.
“I'm pretty excited about it, and I'm going to have fun with it," Smiddy said of his presidency.
"I'm just super excited to have this opportunity and be able to give back to this club," Poosson noted.
Baer and Horvath declined to comment.
Smithers, Para, Panskyy and Desrogène did not respond to requests for comment.