Harvard's newest club--like most others--has a president. It also has a "Bagger," a "Computer specialist check casher," and a "Guy who collects carts in the parking lot."
Proclaiming that "groceries' time has come," several Lowell House students recently organized Harvard's only known Grocery Society whose motto is "Vivere Melius Per Condimenta"--"Better Living Through Groceries."
"We were sitting around at lunch, trying to think of what kind of club to start and groceries was the first idea that came to mind," said President Anthony Klein '85, who earned the title largely because the organization's first meeting was held in his room.
"The club will consume various sorts of beer and snack foods and analyze their quality and prices," Klein said, "Part of promoting grocery awareness is to get people to think about grocery stores."
"If it weren't for groceries, food itself would be impossible," explained Deliman Ben Alpers '86, who doubles unofficially as secretary and keeper of the archives. "We all take groceries for granted, and perhaps our dining halls don't take groceries enough for granted."
Other executive officers include Bagger Barry Pearlstein '86, Check Casher Chris Carroll '86, Assistant Store Manager Randi Cohen '86, Floor Manager Hal Burstein '86, and Pricer Alison Caplan '86.
In order to qualify for official University recognition and the right to call themselves the The Harvard-Radcliffe Grocery Society, the group also intends to ask a targeted faculty member on Monday to be a faculty advisor. Klein said, though, "I cannot mention his name because he doesn't know it yet."
This past week, the club's first, was "quite hectic" because of the unexpectedly high level of student interest--almost 30 people signed up to join. Klein said, adding that "we haven't really learned how to master these large numbers yet."
"All it takes to be an officer is to come up with a grocery related title. Everyone else is a consumer," said Klein.
Aside from promoting grocery awareness, Klein said the society's central concern is to remain apolitical. "We want to stay away from politics. There will be no Democrats and no Republicans. No one is against groceries--the very concept can't help but to foster friendships," Klein explained.
He added that anyone may join the club and attend the weekly meetings. "We're open to freshmen, and we don't have a comp. We will get tee-shirts, since one of the major goals is publicity," Klein said.
The first meeting of the "grocery table" on Thursday night featured a panel discussion about Milwaukee's Finest Beer and snack chips, as well as one member's lecture entitled "My Sister's Month at Waldbaum's," a supermarket chain in the Northeast.
However, Guy Who Collects Carts In The Parking I of Stephen I. Davis '86 said that "we will probably change our time because it interferes with Lowell House Teatime, our one opportunity to get good food all week."
Official response to the new club has been very positive. "All I can say is that I have deep respect for all the members of the board. I wish them very well for the continuing success of their organization," said Ellen Porter Honnet, assistant to the senior tutor at Lowell House. "I'd be happy to serve as a consultant."