As the Gargoyle Society prepares to confirm the new members of its 123rd delegation, we would like to take the opportunity to discuss the incoming delegation and the reasons for which these members have been chosen. Due to the semi-secretive nature of Gargoyle, rumors about what exactly the group does and how members are chosen do arise. By writing this piece, we would like to simultaneously address certain notions of what the Gargoyle selection process entails and celebrate the outstanding new members who will soon join.
The members of the incoming delegation have been chosen based on strength of their applications, personal character and previous work in the aim of bettering the College. Current members of the 122nd delegation were impressed with the overall quality of the applicant pool and the many parts of campus represented by the applicants. As a result, the incoming delegation will incorporate diverse perspectives and will provide members with new networks for both individual and group undertakings.
The selection format includes one blind screening of applications and a second, non-blind round to finalize the delegation. Rankings in the first round are heavily weighted, and the second round is used to ensure a diverse and representative body. While we do encourage certain individuals to apply, those applicants are given no more weight than any other when choosing the new delegation. We strive to create a group that represents the College as fully as possible, and the open application process is important in our efforts to obtain campus-wide representation. Gargoyle, as a group working to improve campus life, functions best when as many campus interests as possible are represented in its members.
This system, of course, does have its flaws, which have become especially apparent in the past year. We understand that perceptions of Gargoyle may influence those who choose or choose not to apply, thus creating a biased selection pool that may not represent the entirety of campus. Oftentimes, these perceptions stem from confusion over Gargoyle’s core values and mission, and we hope that this piece provides some clarification. We are working hard to remedy these issues and hope to eliminate the inherent biases in our application process. Because the success of the group is so fundamentally based on its membership, identifying issues in our application process has become a top priority this spring and will continue to be an active topic in the coming year.
Gargoyle is driven by a desire to promote the best interests of the College, a goal that has led to previous work on ending the fraternity system and starting the Junior Adviser system. More recent projects include rethinking the College alcohol policy, creating the foundation for a Winter Study course on life goals and inspiring conversation about academic honesty on campus. We hope that, by bringing together a highly diverse group of students, we are better able to engage in meaningful conversations and implement collaborative solutions. We are therefore inviting what we see as a collection of motivated individuals who will discuss issues pertinent to the College campus and drive solutions backed by a broad range of campus experiences. The outgoing delegation has full confidence in its new members and is excited to see what lies ahead.
During its first few meetings, the new delegation will dedicate most of its time to discussing potential topics for the new academic year. After identifying a topic, the rest of the year will be spent working on quality approaches to improving campus life within that aspect of our community. For the current delegation, this process led us to engage the topic of mental health at the College. In implementing potential solutions, we collaborated with various groups on campus, including the dean’s office, the chaplain’s office, and psychological counseling Services. The year’s efforts resulted in contributions to proposed syllabi language regarding mental health (in conjunction with the Mental Health Committee), a new “Thriving at Williams” initiative, an expansion of support networks at the Career Center, close work with the administration in crafting future mentawl health goals and the “Quitting at Williams” event on Claiming Williams Day. We realize that mental health is an ongoing priority for students and hope that these projects have made a positive and tangible impact. However, this approach is simply one of many that the new delegation can choose to take.
Ultimately, what the new delegation chooses to accomplish will be up to its members; they may continue with mental health as their topic or select an entirely new one. Regardless, we are very excited to see what the newest members will accomplish during the next academic year.
Eric Davis ’17 is an economics and history double major from Princeton Junction, N.J. He lives in Perry. Roya Huang ’17 is a biology and chemistry double major from Palo Alto, Calif. She lives in Prospect. Jonathon Burne ’17 is a political science and Arabic studies double major from San Pedro, Calif. He lives in Fitch.