Hasty Pudding Graduate Board Bans Alcohol From Club
The Hasty Pudding Club got its name from a stipulation in its 1795 constitution that two members should bring a pot of hasty pudding to each meeting.
And in a mid-19th-century update of the club's bylaws, the Pudding decided that there would be no alcohol at any club meetings.
In recent decades, the approximately 200 members have consumed more of the latter than the former, but the situation is now changing.
At the beginning of the academic year, the graduate board of the Hasty Pudding Institute of 1770 (the umbrella organization for every group that uses the Holyoke Street building) decreed that the first floor of the building, including the member's lounge, must remain "dry," meaning no alcohol at any events.
For now, the change has mainly affected the social club, which has refocused activity from its members' nights every Thursday and Sunday to club lunches held three times a week.
"We won't be able to go there to drink, but it's nice to have a place to have lunch," member Joanna G. Hootnick '02 said.
Members said they have been told that off-site parties in Boston will fill the hole left by this change.
The other organizations housed at 12 Holyoke St. also have to face the consequences of their graduate board's decision.
Hasty Pudding Theatricals (HPT) will no longer be able to throw cast parties with alcohol at the building and the policy may affect bar sales during shows.
"It's not a huge part of our budget, but it's income we count on," HPT alumni coordinator Melanie A. Sheerr '00 said.
Along with the shift in emphasis, the Hasty Pudding Club has also decided to push back its fall punch.
The club traditionally holds the process through which it picks new members before the final clubs hold their punches, which are currently ongoing, but this year the Pudding punch will be in November.
"Given the situation, we had to rethink what our approach was going to be," Pudding President Jessica S. Wu '00 said.
Membership Coordinator William B. Decherd '01, who is in charge of the punch, said the club will be adding an extra event to the punch process this year. Decherd and Wu are also Crimson editors.
"In the recent past it's been one event, which is not the best way to get to know the people," he said. "The second round will be lunches."
In terms of why the graduate board decided to go ahead with the change, even their undergraduate leaders are unclear on the motivation.
Wu said liquor liability was probably important in the decision, and Decherd heard there was a problem with fire code violations.
"I've heard a lot of stories," Wu said. "They've been willing to talk but a lot of it just comes down to logistics--just seeing them in person is tough."
Wu added that the lack of communication may have given the graduates, who heard about the rowdiness of the Pudding a few years ago, an inaccurate picture of the club.
Sheerr said signs last year pointed to the fact that graduates were worried about the club, but no one expected this extreme reaction.
"Last year was the first year the grad board required that we have a bartender," Sheerr said.
These changes may alter the state of the club, but most members said they fully support the graduate board's decision.
"It's refreshing to see the graduate board concerned with having some depth to it rather than being a purely festive institution," Edward B. "Ted" Fienning '01 said.
He added that the undergraduates and the graduates have the same goal: "have as much fun as possible while keeping the building as nice as possible."
Members said they are enthusiastic about focusing club activity on the Upstairs at the Pudding-catered lunches.
"It's all buffet and it's so good," member Charlotte W. Houghteling '02 said. "It's enough to bring me there."
"It's great relief from savory baked tofu," Fienning added.
Although members seem comfortable with the change, most added they are confused by its motivations.
"I don't know who wanted it or what the conditions are," Hootnick said.
Many first learned of the changes through the grapevine.
"I heard about it at the beginning of the semester as just a rumor," member Chess A. Stetson '01 said. "It turned out to be a true rumor."
Members said they have faith in their undergraduate officers to work out any issues with the graduates.
"They're going to pull the club through this," Fienning said.
Wu and Decherd both emphasized that the no alcohol policy is a chance for the club to return to its roots.
"Really, the club is not about alcohol," Decherd said. "This gives us a wonderful opportunity to reevaluate the organization. What traditions do we want to renew?"
This policy change comes in the wake of last semester's crackdown on guests at final clubs.
Although the Pudding is not a final club, the change may have some even wider reaching implications for Harvard, especially in terms of women's options.
"The social scene for girls doesn't have [the final club choice] and now the only club that did allow women is dry," Hootnick said.