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Princeton French & Francophone Society revived amid growing student interest after 7-year hiatus

<h5>The French and Francophone Society’s launch reception, held in Mathey Common Room.</h5>
<h6>Photo courtesy of Yassine Ait Ali</h6>
The French and Francophone Society’s launch reception, held in Mathey Common Room.
Photo courtesy of Yassine Ait Ali

This year, following a hiatus since 2015, the Princeton French and Francophone Society (FFS) has returned to the University’s extracurricular scene. Sophie Chopin GS and Yassine Ait Ali GS, both Ph.D. candidates in the French department and new leaders of FFS, sat down with The Daily Princetonian to discuss the club’s revival.

According to their page on MyPrincetonU, the club has “the aim of promoting French and Francophone languages and cultures among all the students” and currently lists more than 150 members. The page invites students to attend events such as film screenings, guest speakers, lunch events, and more.

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Chopin, who is also the club’s treasurer, shared that the group was brought back after they recognized a gap in engagement between French language students. “We’re trying to build a bridge between undergraduate students who [are] interested in exploring another culture outside of the classroom, and also graduate students,” she told the ‘Prince.’

The FFS hosted its launch reception on Sept. 29 in the Mathey College Common Room, offering refreshments and a chance to meet other students interested in French and Francophone culture and language. The event drew more than 70 attendees, and Ait Ali, president of the FFS, shared his excitement about the turnout.

“I think there’s a big enthusiasm for the French and Francophone Society,” he said. “We were expecting 30 to 40 people, and we had a lot of people who actually joined us.”

“We’re really happy,” Chopin added. “We didn’t expect such a huge response.”

Following the launch event, the group traveled to New York City on Oct. 10 to see a moderated conversation with Nobel prize-winning French author Annie Ernaux and hosted an Oct. 12 French film screening in the Rocky-Mathey Theater. FFS also hosted a “Nuit Karaoke” on Oct. 26 at the Debasement Bar in the Graduate College.

According to Ait Ali, the FFS will be hosting a week-long film festival next semester during Princeton’s Francophone Week, in collaboration with the French embassy in New York and several other community organizations.

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Ait Ali also shared his hope for future events in collaboration with student groups like the Princeton African Students Association and the Princeton Canadian Club, as well as French and Francophone-affiliated community organizations outside of the University. 

Chopin expressed a similar sentiment, emphasizing the club’s desire to bring together students with respect to diversity and inclusion, as well as all levels of French-speaking ability and knowledge of French and Francophone culture.

“We hope that [we] will bring many students from all different backgrounds, and many different identities, to represent the club,” she said.

To join, students can register on MyPrincetonU and will be added to the club’s listserv, where information about upcoming events and opportunities will be shared. Interested students can visit https://frenchsoc.princeton.edu/ for more information.

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Bailey Glenetske is an Assistant News Editor who often covers breaking news, University affairs, and STEM news. Please direct any corrections requests to corrections@dailyprincetonian.com.

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