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Seneca Club Throws Barbecue

By Victoria C. Hallett, Crimson Staff Writer

Members of the Seneca, a new female social organization, flipped burgers, played Twister and bounced beach balls last night in the Lowell Courtyard at a barbecue to introduce people to their club.

"People are psyched about it," said Seneca Co-President Alexandra B. Seru '01. "It's mostly just to chill and have a good time."

The 19 current members wore nametags and invited people who came to talk to them about the club and sign up on a sheet to find out more about the application process.

The Seneca's members are careful to say they are not a new final club, but they have not yet stated their exact mission. Members said they hoped to explain the purpose of the organization, which they said would both host parties and sponsor speeches and panel discussions.

One of the approximately 70 people who signed their names, Alison E. Fisher '02, said she was excited to see a new social option for women forming.

"I wanted to come out and meet the people in it, see how it was going to work," she said. "It's fun to be here with everyone. It's a good sign of what the club is going to be like."

Although many of the attendees' questions focused on the process of becoming a member, this meet-and-greet session had no bearing on how women will fare as the club chooses new members in the fall and spring.

"We definitely wanted to stress that this is not part of the application process at all," Co-President Kirstin E. Butler '01 said.

Butler said the application process, their alternative to the Hasty Pudding and final clubs' punch, has not been worked out completely. The members are meeting on Sunday to discuss the specifics, including what weight will be given to the written and social components.

Jaime C. Buehl '01, another member of the club, said the Seneca's alternative application process, which will be open to anyone--unlike the invitation-only final clubs--is just one of several aspects of the Seneca that sets it apart.

"[A closed punch] says a lot about what they want to do. We are dedicated to making the club a different community," she said.

Butler said that although the Seneca has different goals than the long-established final clubs, the group does not wish to alienate the male clubs.

"We're not a final club and we don't want to follow in that tradition," Butler said. "But we definitely want to establish relations with them."

Men in the final club community in attendance said they approve of the Seneca, which began as a sister organization affiliated with one of the eight all-male final clubs.

Delphic member Brian W. Olson '01 said the Seneca would provide a chance for women to experience the same bonding the men in clubs have.

"If they get a building, it would be really cool," he said. "They're trying to make things better and get equal opportunities for women."

Other campus organizations expressed their support for the Seneca.

Many members of the Delta Gamma (DG) sorority as well as the campus' only female final club, the Bee, attended the event.

Wendy Charon '99, a member of DG, said she learned about the event through word-of-mouth from her sorority sisters.

"I came because I wanted to support what seems like a well-founded group," she said. "It's something that's worth knowing about."

Butler said women's groups like DG and the Bee have given the Seneca the benefit of their experience.

"We want to get advice from them," she said.

Members have been working rapidly to get the club organized for next year, Butler said.

Butler said the club held elections last week and sent out their first fundraising mailing to about 200 people--parents and prominent alumni.

They are currently focusing their energies into a real estate committee in charge of searching for a club building and a legal committee to accelerate the incorporation process.

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