By Nicole Bernardi-Reis "At the call of Mrs. T.J. Burrill and Mrs. S.A. Forbes, the women connected with the faculty of the University of Illinois either as members or wives of faculty members met in the Women's Building. It was decided to organize an informal club - the purpose of which is purely social, and the first Tuesday of each month was chosen as the day of meeting." - Minutes from the first meeting of the Women's Club, February 1906 The Women's Club at the UI began as a way for women faculty members and wives of faculty members to socialize. In the beginning, the membership lists read like a campus map: Harker, Kinley, Davenport, Weston and Bevier were all members. Membership dues were 25 cents, and any extra money was used to "plan a tea for the entertainment of the men." In 1915, the club started a student loan fund from excess dues. The fund was designed to provide short-term loans of $5 to $25 "to needy students." In 1923, the group changed its name to the Tuesday Tea Club. Ninety years later, the club has changed. Both men and women can become members, and academic professionals and staff employees also are encouraged to join. The dues have increased to $15 for active members ($12 for retirees.) The loan fund became a scholarship fund - which last year awarded $4,000 - and the club returned to its original name. But the purpose of the club remains unchanged: provide a way for members of the faculty and staff to socialize. The Women's Club is really a group of clubs. Interest groups make up the main activities of the club. These small groups, meeting at various places and times, focus on such interests as antiques, books, bridge, gardening, gourmet cooking, foreign languages, literature, quilting and money management. Club members can attend as many interest groups as they want. If there is a topic not covered by an interest group, members can create a new group as long as 10 people are interested in the topic. Sign-ups for interest groups will take place at a Women's Club Welcome Coffee from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sept. 18 at 133-134 Assembly Hall (northwest concourse). New members are welcome. Dorris Bull, the club archivist, joined the Women's Club in 1986 when her husband became a faculty member. Bull said that she joined because some of her friends were members but also because the club is a good way to meet people throughout the university with a variety of interests. "There are interest groups on everything and a newcomers group for people who are new to the community," Bull said. "The newcomers group tries to make sure you feel welcome in the community," she added. "They help you find your way around, find baby sitters. It's a good way to meet new people." Valleria Cook, the club's past president, said that meeting new people is the reason she joined the club. Cook and her husband moved to Champaign-Urbana in 1990. She said that she needed a place to make roots in the community. "I needed a home," she said. "I was eager to get to know people." Cook added that the club is a great way to get to know the different parts and people of the university. "The club allows members of the community to socialize across departments," Cook said. "The different clubs let members see how the different areas of the university works." Although it is a social group, the Women's Club scholarship fund is very important to the group, Cook said. A new scholarship honoring club member Judith Ikenberry was announced at the spring general meeting. It will carry the same financial weight as the other scholarships but will be awarded to an undergraduate studying in the arts. More information about the Women's Club is available from Rita Campion, president, at 356-3420.