The Club Issue
When Georgetown students introduce themselves on campus, a laundry list of identifiers ensues: name, school, year, major, maybe hometown and then extracurriculars. At Georgetown, club involvement can determine friendships, social involvement and perception on campus.
This emphasis on involvement in often application-based, seemingly exclusive extracurriculars has led to the emergence of the phrase “club culture,” a term that has become a defining factor of social life at Georgetown that suggests clubs’ perception and the power they have in framing students’ daily lives.
Georgetown has been criticized in the past for club exclusivity on campus, yet students are still able to find groups that celebrate acceptance. Given the university’s status as a predominantly white institution, minority students are more aware of the need for inclusive spaces. Minority and affinity groups on campus, which are clubs that bring students of common racial, cultural and gender identities together, epitomize the type of settings that students have created.
Georgetown University Alumni and Student Federal Credit Union, the Hilltop Microfinance Initiative, the Georgetown University Student Investment Fund, Hilltop Consultants, the Georgetown Accounting Society — the list goes on. These organizations help prepare students on campus for careers in the finance industry and have witnessed strong student interest in the private sector.
Clubs on campus can be sources of friendship, academic growth, professional connections and party invites, but they can also be a stressful aspect of life for some on the Hilltop. Between the application process and constant interaction with hierarchical power dynamics, some students can struggle with the stress culture associated with a social life that revolves around clubs.
Since club culture is a stressor for incoming freshmen, the Council of Advisory Boards fair is an opportunity for students to see what is available to them and what might be of interest. Two hundred fifty-four different student organizations tabled during this September’s CAB fair. CAB fair not only represents the pervasiveness of clubs, but students also often feel pressure to overcommit themselves to organization that they will eventually drop.
Like many other Jesuit institutions across the country, Georgetown University has officially disassociated itself from Greek life since the mid-1950s, with nothing seeming to signal an upcoming change in the university’s policy regarding Greek life. Nevertheless, fraternities and sororities continue to exist, each aiming to bring something different to the club culture that pervades Georgetown.