Faculty Club considers relocation to Media House
The Faculty Club is contemplating moving their operations to the Media House after S.U.B renovations are complete.
As the various media clubs that currently occupy the space will be moving into the S.U.B, the house will be vacant. The Faculty Club, now simply referred to as ‘The Club,’ strives to give faculty and professional staff a place to come together for social and intellectual engagement.
“It has been called the Faculty Club but, ever since its inception…it has always had faculty and professional staff,” English professor and Club trustee Priti Joshi said. “We recently decided to be much more proactive in inviting some professional staff in, and we’ve been really quite successful in it.”
Since the 1990s, the Club has met in Niwa House (located behind the Wheelock Center), which served as the former lunch room for faculty and staff.
Currently the Board of Trustees contains seven faculty members and two staff members. Events sponsored by the Club include large parties at the beginning, middle and end of the semester. Another event held was “Dinner at the Club,” where faculty members brought their children to play with one another while the adults relaxed with wine and cheese.
“It’s a small campus so we tend to know each other…but what’s really lovely about the Faculty Club is that it’s not work. You’re socially engaging with people. It really creates community,” Joshi said. “A lot of what we talk about is probably work related, but you’re reaching outside of your space to do it.”
The Club, although used for social events, is also a setting for intellectual conversation. For over a year, a monthly discussion was held to discuss various topics. These were attended regularly by about 20 faculty and staff.
“There’s a perception among some faculty that the Club is used only as a social space, and so we try to show through our actions that this isn’t [entirely the case],” professor of education and club trustee Amy Ryken said. “We can have meetings there. We can have gatherings for families there. I think the main purpose behind [the Club] is to create a site where faculty and staff can come together, outside of the committee work that we do.”
The Club contains over 100 members, 20 percent of whom are professional staff. Membership dues of $10 per month are used to fund the various events.
The Club has recently toured the Media House, and is presently deciding whether or not to commit to the move.
“The Club has had concerns about existing square footage, so we thought it was worth exploring the idea of moving to the Media House,” Executive Director for Community Engagement John Hickey said. “As far as I know, I think they’re very interested, and we’re ready to accommodate them if they’re ready.”
The Club was once a part of the Association of Faculty Clubs International; however, they have since ceased their involvement due to expensive fees and strict bylaws. However, the faculty and professional staff involved are proud of the personalized inclusive club they have created.
“Our university has been a helpful landlord in the last few years. However, no decision has been made about [the move] yet,” Ryken said. “[Regardless of its location], the Club will remain a site for trying to build good will, collaboration, and a sense of belonging on campus.”