“It was the best of times, it was the best of times, it was the best of times…”
So spoke one Yale alumna, class of ’78, in reference to her Feb Club experiences.
Another alum merely remarked, “Memories of Feb Club? Isn’t that an oxymoron?” Feb Club is a longstanding campus tradition in which 28 parties are thrown for seniors to escape the misery of midterms and the cold. Legend has it that Feb Club originated in the ‘70s and ended sometime during the ‘90s, to then reappear in 2006. But now, Feb Club isn’t only for overwhelmed undergrads. In 2008, two members of the Class of ’87 came up with the idea for a “Feb Club for old people.” And so, Feb Club Emeritus (FCE) was born.
And this “Feb Club for old people” has gone global. On Thurs., Feb 28, there will be FCE parties in Munich, Dallas, Portland, Singapore, Kobe (Japan), Laramie, Rome, Aspen, Hong Kong, Lake Tahoe, South Salem, Norfolk, and New York.
FCE provides alums with a space to relive their brightest college month. This year, the kickoff party for the month of festivities took place at the Yale Club in New York City. The description of the event on the FCE website begins with the line “It’s Friday, Friday! Gotta get to the Club on First Feb Friday!” The blurb for the Boston party reminded its guests that “The location may be super classy, but we don’t have to be.” The Tokyo page boasts a number of Feb Club Emeritus records, including ‘Highest Number of Shots Per Person’—105 shots consumed by 23 people—accomplished on Feb. 26, 2008.
The fun doesn’t stop there—Feb Club Emeritus also has a Facebook group. Dubbed ‘Feb Club for Old People,’ the group has 2,351 members and is managed by Tim Harkness YC ’87, one of the founding members of the Club. Harkness is clearly an adept party planner. In one post, he asked, “Should we have Gangnam Style/K Pop Feb Club? Dress Classy and Dance Cheesy. Sounds like a Feb Club to me.” His catchphrase, “Build it and they will come . . .” is continually used to encourage alumnae around the world to host Feb Club Emeritus parties.
And if the Facebook group is not entertainment enough, the Feb Club Emeritus Guest Book offers an outlet for alumnae to reminisce about their Feb Club festivities. “The only Feb Club party I can *remember* was in the basement of Branford in 1982,” wrote one alumnus on the Feb Club Emeritus website. “Think concrete, dim lighting and blue haze…Various and sundry substances flowed, including hormones.”
Feb Club Emeritus participants are well aware of the age gaps that exist within the organization. One alumnus lamented, “I am afraid that many who visit this site might not know what a Safety Dance is. What is perhaps worse, we danced to ‘Safety Dance’ music when it first came out.” However, for some its a source of solace. One anonymous ’07 graduate exclaimed, “This gives me hope that when I’m old I can still be cool.”
But for any alumnae who fear they are too old to participate, the website’s Q&A section offers reassuring words: “If this year is like last, we expect attendees of all ages who are cool, hip, lively, bad, rad, hot, groovy, crunk, or even swingin’, depending on their era.”