E-mail from Bob Fonow esq.
I received yesterday, January 3, 2001, the most recent Club Connexion with gratitude and interest. Let me reply briefly to the ideas proposed.
It seems that there remains concern about the continuing viability of the College Club. Over the years, membership has ebbed and flowed. Occasionally, when matters reached a particularly low ebb, Returning Members have stepped in to help manage affaris, especially regarding recruitment and dinner plans. This sems to me an apt role for RMs with experience and perspective and should be formalized.
On the other hand, the intellectual and "spiritual" foundation of both the College Club and RMs remains the active 16 Club. Therefore it seems to me necessary to strengthen both groups separately, the relationship between them and additionally the relationship of both to the College.
1) RMs. Brendan's ideas have great merit. I support a stronger purpose for the RMs than simply meeting for dinner once per year. I also like the idea of the RM dinner being elswhere than Lampeter to give members an easier venue to attend.
2) 16 Club. Every organization has to reinvent itself occasionally to stay relevant. Time change. I have noted before that the 16 Club needs a purpose beyond eating and drinking, especially now when global issues are forefront in the mind of all thoughtful people, perhaps university students most of all. This relates to number 3 below.
Also, the concept of double 16 comes to mind in a different meaning here. At present the 16 Club ignores half the consituency of the College. It is beyond time to open membership to women. 16 men, 16 women. Meeting together for the first dinner, separately for the second and together again with returners for the third. But even that is not enough to sustain interest. There must be a clear benefit to being a member and Brendan hits upon it.
The RMs must take a greater interest in helping graduates to network and build strong careers that reflect well upon the Club. Good biographies of former members are a very attractive membership proposition.
3) College relations. For continuing viability the Club needs a purpose. Whether it is supporting the College in recruitment, providing a social service to the community, or whatever, it needs a compelling reason to attract and retain the highest caliber members.
These issues need to be discussed, decisions made, programs managed and goals met. It is the same for any successful organization. Brendan has offered to take the lead in regenerating the RMs. We should form a small committee to discuss options for the 16 Club and College relations to be presented to the membership at the Double 16 weekend.
Finally, I will be happy to address the consequences of September 11, 2001 in a few words during the weekend. We can all hope that there won't be another event before the dinner that takes precedence. I was in New York shortly after the attacks and visit the city often. June is probably distant enough to permit some element of perspective, and a measured analysis of the consequences.
With best regards,