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Club Z Holds First Social Event

Organization to Provide Students with Opportunity to Meet People

By Melissa S. Cain


Jazz filled the air as guests sipped smoothies at a party hosted by Club Z, a new group which plans alternative social events for the MIT community.

About fifty people attended the event, which was held on Saturday night in the student center’s Stratton Lounge.

“A bunch of us had an idea for an innovative new kind of social event at MIT,” said Benjamin J. Zeskind ’03, one of Club Z’s founding members and its current chair.

“We started talking about holding an elegant event where people could meet and interact, sort of like a jazz club or cocktail party,” Zeskind said. “Holding these events regularly could really help bring together people from throughout the MIT community. We had an excellent jazz pianist for the event on Saturday, and we'll be having a variety of jazz and other performers at our events in the fall.”

Zeskind hopes Club Z will be a place for people to meet and talk, reminiscent of Orientation. “You’ll remember how refreshing it is to meet and talk to new people,” he said.

The event was aimed at the MIT community, but attendees included students from Wellesley College, Boston University, and Northeastern University. Several Wellesley students were also involved in planning the event.

Phillip J. Walsh, Director of the Campus Activities Complex, worked with Club Z to plan the event and is very enthusiastic about collaborating with the group next year.

“[Zeskind] approached us because he and a couple of students had been thinking of doing an alternative program to the traditional opportunities offered on the weekend,” Walsh said. “Club Z agreed with what we were thinking about doing in regards to the strategic planning process for the student center,” so the CAC decided to get involved.

Club Z draws a diverse crowd

“We were hoping for a very diverse crowd, and we definitely achieved that,” Zeskind said. “Age-wise, we had everyone from freshmen to graduate students to alums. In terms of living groups, we had people from east and west sides of campus, and well as people from fraternities and sororities. But not only did this diverse group show up, they talked to each other!”

Ankur M. Mehta said that the event allowed him to meet several new people. “I met a lot of people from other schools whose paths I might not have crossed otherwise,” he said.

“The laid-back social atmosphere made it easy to initiate sophisticated conversation,” said Daniel R. Ramage ’04.

Goodwin Chen ’04 said that unlike fraternity parties, where people mostly just dance, Club Z is, “a social gathering where you really interact with people. ... Unlike other gatherings, after Club Z you are actually likely to talk to someone you met there.”

The club’s organizers expect to hold weekly events in the fall.

Non-students enjoy the event

Chris W. Nelson, a freshman at BU, found out about the event through friends at MIT.

“[Club Z has] a good atmosphere, good music, and lots of laughing people,” said Nelson.

Thomas S. Popik ’82 stopped by the Student Center with a group of visiting alumni to get ice cream at Toscanini’s, but he was unimpressed by the music.

“It’s a great idea, but 20 years too late,” said Popik. “I was a sad, gross, pimply nerd” who would have enjoyed Club Z .

However, some attendees were not impressed by the event. Randal B. Leiter, a sophomore at Northeastern University who works at MIT, said that the event “seems to lack some of the components of a relaxed environment.”

Leiter also felt that Club Z was not much of an activity on its own. “The only way this is going to work is if it is also combined with other events, like an after party,” he said.