Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Inaugural CAB Fair 2.0 Looks to Combat Exclusivity

The inaugural “CAB Fair 2.0,” hosted by Georgetown’s Council of Advisory Boards, is scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 14. The fair was organized to combat club exclusivity on campus.

The second CAB Fair, which will take place on Harbin Hall’s patio, was proposed as a way to highlight clubs that are inclusive or do not require an application, according to CAB Chair Carley Mambuca (SFS ’18).

CENTER FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE Georgetown’s Council of Advisory Boards is set to host the inaugural CAB Fair 2.0, exclusively for clubs with open memberships.

“This CAB Fair is open exclusively to those organizations with open membership,” Mambuca wrote in an email to The Hoya. “Any group that is tabling either does not have an application process or is only signing folks up for the aspects of their organizations that do not have an application (EX: GUSA policy groups).”

The fair is aimed at elevating the status of open-membership clubs to help students find a club aligned with their interest, Mambuca wrote.

“All Hoyas deserve to find their community on the Hilltop and it is hard to think that our peers are the judges as to whether or not that can happen with certain application-based groups Open-membership organizations are just as worthy and welcoming,” Mambuca wrote. “I do believe that Georgetown students celebrate each other for their diverse passions, but that in some ways has not transferred to the way those view clubs and organizations on campus, and CAB is actively pursuing solutions to this phenomenon.”

The first CAB Fair of the semester took place Sept. 8 and featured over 200 student organizations, many of which require applications and interviews.

The “CAB Fair 2.0” comes after a largely student-led effort to mitigate the effects of Georgetown’s club culture based largely on application-based clubs. Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs Erika Cohen Derr convened a working group of student leaders and representatives from student groups such as the Georgetown University Alumni and Student Federal Credit Union, Students of Georgetown, Inc., and Blue and Gray Tour Guide Society in the spring of 2017 to look into potential solutions.

“Georgetown really has deferred to student leaders to lead the fight against Georgetown’s current club culture, which is why I have installed the second CAB Fair this year,” Mambuca wrote. “I think this is a great first step, but it is in no way fixing the issue in its entirety.”

Mambuca wrote that following a survey conducted by the 2018 Senior Class Committee last Spring, discomfort with the club application processes seemed to be a persistent complaint for freshmen and an isolating feature of Georgetown’s culture that made the campus inaccessible for many new students.

“Very few folks said that they felt at home in the Hilltop during their freshman year. Most mentioned sophomore or junior year,” Mambuca wrote. “It is reasonable to believe that is, at least in part, a result of the organizational exclusivity faced by many freshmen.”

In 2016, GUASFCU accepted 7.6 percent of 290 applicants and Blue and Gray accepted 10.2 percent of 313 applicants. In 2015, the Corp accepted 18 percent of all applicants. These organizations no longer release their acceptance rates, according to club representatives.

The exclusive club culture at Georgetown can be a shock for freshmen, Georgetown University Student Association freshman representative Connor Brennan (SFS ’22) said.

“A lot of us come from schools where we’re big fish in a small pond. We come from a high school where we were leaders and the best in everything, and that’s how we got into Georgetown. Now, we are big fish in an ocean of very big fish,” Brennan said. “It’s sort of jarring to the mentality that has driven many of us, and I think it’s a culture shock.”

Former Chair of the Georgetown University Lecture Fund and representative to the informal working group on club culture Aiden Johnson (COL ’19) criticized club exclusivity at Georgetown and helped established open membership for the Lecture Fund.

“At some point along the road, we embraced this idea that for clubs to be efficient or attractive they have to be exclusive,” Johnson said. “That is a myth; it’s a lie that we tell ourselves, just look at the astounding and inclusive clubs at the second CAB fair. The cost of turning a student away from a club they care about is, in my opinion, far higher than the cost it takes to find a place for them.”

The current efforts to reduce pressures from clubs that require applications offers hope for a more inclusive club environment on campus, Johnson said.

“The students who worked on the second CAB Fair are reminders that only students can fix Georgetown’s club culture because we are the ones who created it,” Johnson said. “I’m thrilled that new students get this extra chance to find a community at Georgetown; they deserve an explanation as to why it is so hard to find one in the first place.”

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