February is not known for being the most lighthearted of months. But one alumni group has been serving up an antidote to the mid-winter blues for several years now.
The Feb Club Emeritus, based on the similarly named campus event organized for seniors, is an alumni organization that brings together Yale graduates from six continents and more than six class decades for parties in over 115 cities across the world. The group was born in 2008, during a class of 1987 lunch, when Tim Harkness ’87 discussed his desire for a low-key social gathering to bring together alumni with varied interests. Harkness told the News that the original plan provided for 28 parties in 28 cities, but rapidly grew to include 35 cities and over 3,000 alumni.
“We were brainstorming about getting our class to meet — one joke led to another to another and pretty soon we were organizing Feb Club parties all over the world,” Harkness said, noting that the success of the club has been far beyond what he had initially expected, a testament to the capability and passion of Yale alumni.
The original on-campus Feb Club, which hosts parties every night of February for graduating seniors, was a key inspiration for Feb Club Emeritus, according to the group’s website. Further, many of the members of the alumni group were involved in the initial creation of the senior Feb Club while they were at Yale.
The party locations range from New York City to Kigali, Rwanda, Harkness said. Alumni have hosted from distilleries in Brooklyn, manors in Mississippi, yachts off the coast of South Africa, karaoke houses in London and even a Bedouin tent in the Jordanian desert.
“My father went to one in Australia, there were people from four different decades doing all sorts of things. They had fried crocodile, a couple of beers and just sat around in a pub for the evening,” Harkness said.
Erin Coffey ’09, who has been attending Feb Club Emeritus events in Philadelphia for several years, said she enjoys the parties primarily for the inter-class, cross-generational interactions that they foster.
A highlight of the parties is drinking from the Mory’s Cup — a glistening silver chalice filled to the brim with a strong alcohol blend, said Ed West ’79.
Eric Peterson ’99, former Student Activities Committee and Spring Fling Committee chair, also said the Mory’s Cup is a particularly vivid memory of his.
“Partaking in the delightful but totally anachronistic Mory’s Cups, it is a little strange. You get a funny look from the bartender when you say ‘I’m going bring in some giant silver chalices to make punch in with ice cubes the size of a Solo cup and then were going to pass them around and it’ll all be free’ — it’s very Yale,” he said.
Peterson, who works for New York City Parks, recalled a particularly memorable party he hosted in Central Park. The event, in breach of fire code, was attended by several hundred alumni who stayed late into the night. Peterson said the event was “epic” and is talked about to this day.
Coffey said the Feb Club Emeritus events are a window into Yale’s past and a way to see how different generations shape the University’s identity — but they are also a reminder of what Yalies share, even after decades.
Since 2008, the organization has hosted over 30,000 alumni from as far back as the class of 1954. The Feb Club Emeritus will host their finale on Saturday, Feb. 28 at Mory’s.