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Club Nom seeks to facilitate dialogue between eating club members, other upperclassmen

A new initiative, Club Nom, has been launched to facilitate dialogue between eating club members and students who eat independently, in the co-ops or in the residential colleges. Founded by Hannah Rosenthal ’15, Club Nom will begin holding forum-style discussions next semester.

Club Nom’s dialogues are intended to give all juniors and seniors the opportunity to communicate with peers who eat in the clubs, regardless of their meal plan and housing choices, Rosenthal said.

“As a senior, especially, your time is dwindling here, and you kind of want the opportunity to interact with people informally but with some sort of structure,” she explained of the club’s purpose.

Each dialogue will each be inspired by one guiding “big question,” Rosenthal said, such as “What do we have in common?”, “Who is in your family?” and “What does tradition mean to you?”

She added that she intends to hold 11 dialogues in total, one per eating club. As of Tuesday night, four eating clubs had indicated their intention to participate in Club Nom, she said.

As a scholar of a national Hillel organization called Ask Big Questions, Rosenthal is required to hold a minimum of five dialogues on campus throughout the year.

“I’ve been facilitating dialogues on my own for a while,” Rosenthal said. “I did some for Wilson College last year, for the Fields Center. I started last year an initiative between between the [Center for Jewish Life] and the Fields Center, a Black-Jewish Dialogue. We had training in Chicago in October for Ask Big Questions.”

She added that Arielle Greenwald, the director of strategic initiatives at the CJL, assisted her with the process of sponsoring the dialogues and that Greenwald encouraged Rosenthal to apply to become an Ask Big Questions scholar.

“Hannah is this really big-picture thinker and a really inspiring student,” Greenwald said. “She really wants to make inroads into having conversations about diversity.”

Cloister Inn President Paul Popescu ’14 said he approved of the idea behind Club Nom.

“Anything that increases intra-campus dialogue will fulfill the purpose that Club Nom sets up,” he said. “It sounds simple, and it could end up serving a really cool purpose.”

Rosenthal has also been in informal discussions with USG president Shawon Jackson ’15 about potential USG sponsorship of the initiative.

“USG would consider co-sponsoring the initiative or publicizing it through email,” Jackson confirmed. “Personally, I thought it was a great idea. It goes along with our mission of making students feel comfortable on campus.”

Rosenthal added that she had plans to create a social media page soon.

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