This piece offers a satirical look into Columbia’s club culture. It is intended as a satire and constitutes a work of fiction. The piece was inspired by a similar commentary from the writer’s high school newspaper, The Musket.

In early Fall, hundreds of clubs crowded Columbia’s campus to recruit students. While temperatures soared over 90 degrees, club leaders were undeterred. Passing out everything from themed stickers to water bottles, each club was committed in their efforts to attract new members and expand their email list into the triple digits.

Now, in April, temperatures haven’t even come close to the blistering heights at the Club Fair, but club leaders are sweating more than ever as the Club Hunger Games looms.

In a school of frantic resume padding, grade grubbing, and constant competition, clubs have devolved into mere titles on a resume, lacking substance or genuine purpose. With over half of club email addresses deactivated and Squarespace domains expired, the University needed to take action: thus, the Hunger Games came to be.

During this year’s Hunger Games, clubs under the same umbrella are pitted against each other and only the fittest will survive. As top clubs like Tree Huggers Anonymous and the Leaf Lovers League go head to head, the campus is abuzz with anticipation. They face off in a series of tests to evaluate their club’s standing within the broader club landscape. Dean Crane, overseeing the competition, has posted the criteria.

Tests range from counting how many members haven’t fallen asleep during meetings, interrogating members to see if anyone remembers what the club’s actual purpose is (hint: the answer is not free pizza at meetings), and assessing if the club’s Instagram posts are ignored by everyone but the club members’ grandparents.

After a lengthy delay in responding, a club leader finally got back to us. “I am confident we will win this faceoff against the Last-Minute Mavens. We have a strong leadership team that will guide us,” Larry Lastminute, President, Treasurer, and newly-appointed Secretary of the Procrastinators Society, told us.

Clubs are racing to get a headstart. The stickers and water bottles from the Club Fair are replaced with Prada Bags and paid-for seats at Nobu to attract people to join their ranks. Leadership positions are auctioned off as a bonus selling point.

From serving caviar-topped wagyu at meetings to hosting A-list stars, clubs hope to motivate attendance and maintain attention. Keeping the evaluator’s checklist in mind, leaders are recruiting future investment bankers to carefully craft agenda slideshows for the illusion of productivity. These skilled PowerPoint experts are masters at finding the right font size and changing colors.

Some clubs like the Wall Street Bros have instead chosen to go underground to avoid the scrutiny of the evaluator and protect their chance at interning at Morgan Stanley next summer.

May the best club win.

Header Image via Bwog Archives