Three members of the Class of 2006 have revived a bygone Yale social tradition to provide seniors with an opportunity for warmth and camaraderie on otherwise chilly February nights.
Feb Club, a senior-only group that plans to hosts a theme party every night this month, has drawn more than 200 students so far. The purpose of the parties is to give seniors a chance to take a break from essays and job hunting to enjoy the company of their fellow Elis before graduation, organizer Thayer Hardwick ’06 said. Many students who participate in Feb Club said the events are a welcome social outlet, but other seniors said they don’t see the value of attending a party every night.
Hardwick said she discovered Feb Club a few years ago when she found the group’s calendar from 1978, the year that her mother and roughly 50 other seniors founded the group. Hardwick then recruited friends Cody Dashiell-Earp ’06 and Stephanie Dziczek ’06 to help her organize the club.
The three sent out approximately 200 e-mails to their friends and acquaintances to gauge interest in Feb Club and received an overwhelmingly positive response, Hardwick said.
“We had told a few people about it, and everyone was really excited,” Dashiell-Earp said. “We’re still getting e-mails as the month goes on asking, ‘Can I buy into Feb Club?'”
Dashiell-Earp and Dziczek are former photography editors for the News.
Although the organizers did not invite the entire senior class, Feb Club was not meant to be exclusive, and any senior who was willing to help sponsor a party and come to as many parties as possible was welcome to join, Dziczek said.
Matthew Boelig ’06 said the Feb Club parties are a welcome alternative to the usual Yale social scene, and are often much nicer than typical parties on campus.
“They are a lot classier,” he said. “Better liquor, better company, better music … and they are off campus, usually, so the rooms are a lot cooler.”
Although members are encouraged to come to as many parties as possible, all members do not show up every night, Dziczek said. Instead, there is a core group of daily partygoers, while other members come when they can. Some of this year’s themes include “Heaven and Hell,” “Rock Stars and Rappers” and a toga party. And while there is alcohol at all of the parties, it is not always a priority for every attendee, Dashiell-Earp said.
“It’s not about drinking every night,” she said. “It’s about getting together and hanging out and not being stressed about jobs and essays and that sort of thing.”
Thayer said the organizers have stressed the social aspect over the drinking aspect and have been careful to follow all of the Undergraduate Regulations regarding parties — parties on weekdays must end by 11 p.m. and on weekends by 1 a.m. — when they are held on campus because of Feb Club’s “sketchy” past.
Feb Club had a “terrible reputation” because it became associated with heavy drinking and wild parties, especially after it was taken over by the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity at some point during the ’80s or ’90s, Dziczek said. By the late 1990s the University began to crack down on the gatherings, which were no longer restricted to seniors, according to a News article from 1998.
But Dean of Student Affairs Betty Trachtenberg said she does not know when the parties were discontinued or if the administration was responsible for stopping them. She said she remembers that the details of the club and the parties were always shrouded in mystery.
Feb Club member Jake Saper ’06 said he enjoys the gatherings not only because they are an opportunity to socialize with other seniors, but because it is nice to be part of such a creative Yale tradition.
“It help us connect with our predecessors and form cohesion as a class,” he said. “I think it speaks to Yale students’ creativity and motivation even in social pursuits.”
But many seniors said they had not heard of Feb Club, and others said they think attending 28 consecutive parties is not a good use of their remaining time at Yale.
Andrew Butler ’06 said that although he does not know any Feb Club members and was not invited to join, he thinks it sounds like a good idea.
“I don’t see the problem with partying every night, or at least having the option to party every night,” he said. “If you hung out with five different seniors every night for the rest of the semester, you still wouldn’t get to hang out with all of them because there are so many of us.”
But Karen Burke ’06 said she is not interested in joining the nightly party scene.
“I feel like this semester is the busiest of any one,” she said. “I guess for some people taking advantage of their last semester of opportunities at Yale means partying a lot more, but for me it’s a different meaning. It sounds like a real waste of time, to be honest.”
Party locations, times and themes were distributed to Feb Club members at the beginning of the month on paper calendars, much like the calendars used by the original club in 1978, Hardwick said. The theme of tonight’s scheduled event is “V-Card Party: Where the Losers are the Winners.”