Every semester, members of the Lettuce Club at the University of Minnesota Duluth gather for a lettuce head eating competition. The rules are simple: any salad dressing is allowed, students pay two dollars to compete (one dollar if you bring your own lettuce head), and the person who finishes their lettuce first becomes “The Head of Lettuce.” The people who come in second and third place are awarded the titles of “The Half Wedge” and “The House Salad,” respectively.
Similar clubs dedicated to lettuce eating competitions exist at the University of Oklahoma and the University of Maryland. Although Princeton does not have a lettuce club like these schools, the University does have a number of similar clubs that also seem to lack an apparent purpose. While the benefit of these groups is often not obvious, Princeton students should get involved organizations such as these, as they can be the source of inexplicable amusement.
When I first learned about the Lettuce Club, I laughed at the ridiculous notion of dozens of young adults coming together to see who can eat a head of lettuce the fastest. I asked myself, what is the point of the Lettuce Club? Then, I realized: the point is that there is no point. It is innately human to partake in activities that hold no purpose other than to bring joy.
Matthew Parris of the New Statesman America explains the benefits of engaging in nonsensical activities in his article, “What makes us human? Doing pointless things for fun.” Parris describes the ancient history of humans participating in activities that have no purpose, including African bush people having contests as to who could jump the highest. “In playfulness lies the highest expression of the human spirit,” explains Parris.
Princeton has over 300 student organizations, and the majority of them would be considered by most to be conventional groups with clear, productive purposes. Pre-professional clubs strive to familiarize members with their prospective careers. Political groups dedicate themselves to increasing civic engagement and encouraging constructive dialogue between members. Cultural organizations aim to inform others about different groups and celebrate traditions.
Organizations such as these can be incredibly fulfilling and fruitful for members. These clubs can, however, be extremely time-consuming and are often selective in their membership. While it is a valuable experience to be a part of clubs such as these, there is also a benefit to joining a club that is a little more unconventional.
While the majority of Princeton’s clubs are not unusual for a college, the university does have some more eccentric organizations. For example, Princeton’s Kardashian Lifestyle Klub holds “group events, konferences, and kontests” about the famous family. The Cheese and Bad Movies Club, as the name implies, gathers to eat cheese and watch bad movies. The Pool Club aims to increase the presence of billiards at Princeton.
Although the three aforementioned clubs are completely different, they all share a similar value: a commitment to an activity that is not typically seen by society as being productive. Despite an absence of societal importance, they all have dedicated members that take pleasure in the seemingly futile activities that the organizations celebrate.
It is no secret that Princeton students are incredibly busy. To thrive at Princeton, you have to have great time management skills. Although it may seem like a waste of time to do something that is not productive to your immediate goals, it is important to partake in activities solely for pleasure.
While Princeton does not have a Lettuce Club, the university does have a few other clubs with similar levels of randomness and absurdity. The university would benefit from more organizations such as these, and individuals should not be afraid to join groups that lack an obvious payoff. You don’t necessarily have to participate in a lettuce eating contest, but you should partake in activities for no reason other than pure enjoyment every once in a while.
Katie Goldman is a first-year from Western Springs, IL. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.