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The launch of a new official website about the eating clubs has provided a unique window into the clubs’ real membership numbers, one which suggests that a significant number of students drop the eating clubs before graduating.
As of the beginning of the current semester, 1,710 students in the Classes of 2014 and 2015 are members of the eating clubs according to the InterClub Council website. However, of the students who joined eating clubs between spring 2012 and spring 2013 — the period that accounts for all current members — at least 233 of 1,943, or 12 percent, have dropped or left, according to historical aggregate data maintained by The Daily Princetonian.
The aggregate numbers do not count Quadrangle Club, which currently has a membership of 113 students according to its website, because until very recently the club did not disclose membership numbers to the ‘Prince.’ The numbers also do not include the most recent fall bicker and sign-in season. In addition, some of thestudents who joined in that period were members of the Classes of 2013 and 2012 and have since graduated. Many clubs do not report their exact figure, but for many clubs this number is minimal, according to membership lists obtained by the ‘Prince‘ last spring.
The largest difference is in the case of Terrace Club, which saw 343 students join between spring of 2012 and 2013, including 183 who joined last spring alone. Terrace, however, currently lists a membership of only 230 members, a full third less than the number of students who signed in.
Terrace is also the club listing the most members in total, although Tower Club follows closely with 220 members.
In the case of Tiger Inn, the number of members has actually increased compared to the number of students who joined through Bicker. Between spring 2012 and spring 2013, 179 students joined TI, but the club now lists a membership of 188.
TI President Christopher Hamm ’14 did not respond to multiple requests for comment asking whether TI allowed students to join between fall and spring Bicker.
Quadrangle Club — which recently lowered membership fees in an effort to attract more students, is one of few clubs to report losses in its assets, and until recently had a longstanding policy of not disclosing its numbers — now has more members than Cloister Inn. Quad currently has 113 members, while Cloister has 110, according to the ICC website.
Cannon Dial Elm listed a decline of six students with Cannon listing 150 members versus 156 accepted members of the classes of 2014 and 2015 in the previous three bicker seasons.
Cannon and ICC President Connor Clegg ’14, explained that the number provided for Cannon’s membership on the website is more of a ballpark figure than an exactnumber.
The remaining eight clubs have all lost a significant number of members, except for Cottage Club, which has remained almost constant.
“While inevitably there are a few people who drop out for different reasons, the vast majority of members stay in the club. Our members are happy and membership is growing,” Quad president Branden Lewiston ’14 said.
Colonial Club, which accepted a total of 233 students in the past three sign-in seasons, lists a membership of 165. Around 15 of those students joined as upperclassmen and have since graduated, according to numbers Colonial has
Katrina Maxcy ’14, the president of Colonial, explained that some students join clubson a trial basis before deciding whether to stay.
“Generally, a lot of sophomores join eating clubs in the first semester just to try them out and then maybe switch out from there,” she explained.
Cloister listed 110 members versus 166 in the previous three sign-in seasons. Two seniors joined in 2013 and have since graduated. The discrepancy is thus 35 percent.
Cloister President Paul Popescu ’14 said that there was no particular reason for thisdrop.
Cottage Club, which accepted a total of 173 students in the past three bicker seasons, lists a membership of 172 on its page on the website. Cottage President John McGee ‘14 did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
In the case of Ivy Club, Cap & Gown Club, Tower Club and Charter Club, the drop in membership exists but is not particularly significant.
Ivy Club listed a membership of 135 versus a total of 146 in the previous three bicker seasons.
Similarly, Cap & Gown listed a membership of 180 versus a total of 198 in the previous three bicker seasons.
Tower listed a membership of 220 versus a total of 233 in the previous three bicker seasons, and Charter listed a membership of 160 versus a total of 172 in the previous three bicker seasons.
Ivy president Thatcher Foster ’14 did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
Tower President Doug Stuart ’14, Cap & Gown President Justin Perez ’14 declined to comment on the drop. Following initial publication of this article, Charter President Sam Halpern ’14 noted that the discrepancy in Charter membership was due to graduation, but did not provide numbers.
Correction: Due to multiple editing errors, an earlier version of this article overlooked the fact that many of the clubs had indeed disclosed the breakdown of new members according to class year in the past year. As a result, it did not take into account the members of the Classes of 2013 and 2012 who had joined clubs since spring 2012 and have since graduated. The article thus misstated the number and percentages of students who appear to have dropped Colonial and Cannon. 53 students, or 24 percent, appear to have dropped Colonial, while six students, or 3.8 percent, appear to have dropped Cannon. As a result, the article misstated the total number of students who appear to have dropped. Based on the data available to the ‘Prince’, at least 233 of 1,943 students in total have dropped the clubs, for a rate of 12 percent. This article has also been updated to indicate that two seniors joined Cloister and one senior joined Tower in spring 2013 and have since graduated. The ‘Prince’ regrets the errors.
Update: Following initial publication of this article, Charter President Sam Halpern ’14 explained that Charter lost many of its members to graduation too, but did not provide numbers.