By Eliza Mott ’16, Undergraduate President, and Michael Moorin ’16, Bicker Chair
Last fall, Ivy’s officer corps began discussing whether the club should switch its membership application process from single to multi-club Bicker, whereby interested undergrads (a.k.a. bickerees) are allowed to simultaneously bicker two clubs. By late November, the officers had reached a consensus that switching would increase Ivy’s access to quality bickerees, who otherwise would not attempt membership at Ivy because they wanted to bicker more than one club. The officers felt that adapting our system to multi-club Bicker would not be a radical change, but, in fact, would bring us closer in line with Ivy’s former Bicker process. Prior to the recent past, sophomores could bicker as many clubs as they wanted. By allowing interested sophomores to bicker other clubs in addition to Ivy, the process more closely resembles that earlier system.
Ivy’s officers approached the membership in early December with a proposal to make the shift. After a club-wide meeting and vote, the membership ultimately expressed strong approval for participating in the multi-club Bicker process. Thanks to cooperation and swift accommodation from the Inter-Club Council, Ivy was able to implement multi-club Bicker this spring, joining every other Bicker club except Tower.
Transitioning to multi-club Bicker with only a month and a half to go before the start of the process was not easy. Throughout the month of January, the officers spent a lot of time deciding how to alter the system in order to accommodate so many more bickerees, many of whom could not be assumed to be “set” on wanting to be in Ivy. During this process, a primary consideration was how to keep the well-known system of in-depth interviews largely intact, while making a few new non-essential but beneficial improvements. In order to get the membership’s perspective on the changes being considered and to gather alternative suggestions, the club held another town hall meeting in the library. Ultimately, it was decided that we would keep the 10-interview system, while modifying the rating system to require more particularity from reviewing members and to allow for greater differentiation between bickerees. Instead of choosing between the three options of “up,” “neutral,” or “down”—as was the system the prior year, members chose between “strong up,” “up,” “neutral,” “weak down,” or “down,” thus providing a wider range of assessments.
The outcome of this year’s Bicker process indicates our switch to multi-club Bicker was highly successful. The number of spring bickerees increased 51%, from 102 in 2015 to 154 in 2016. Despite this massive increase in volume, exceptional dedication from our membership ensured each bickeree was given 10 substantial interviews. Of this pool, 68 sophomores and one junior were admitted. This made Ivy the most selective club this year, with a 45% acceptance rate. Many new members have expressed their gratitude for the switch, saying without it, they would not have bickered Ivy. This is evidence that we are now attracting many amazing new members we would have missed with our prior process. Furthermore, our new members exhibit an unprecedented level of extracurricular diversity.
While results were positive, the officers and membership maintain that there is much room for reform in Ivy’s Bicker process. Overall, the officers and membership were delighted with the results from our switch to multi-club Bicker, and the ease with which it was implemented. It is expected Ivy will continue to participate in multi-club Bicker in the future and will continue the legacy of bringing on excellent new members.