In answer to this question, an anonymous cynic claimed that Gargoyle

is a society for people who want to put “Gargoyle Society” on their resume to get together with other resume padders to talk about how cool they all are.

Untrue, on several levels.

  1. There is very little benefit to putting Gargoyle on your resume. No one outside of Williams has ever heard of Gargoyle. Many Williams alums do not have an excessively high opinion of Gargoyle.
  2. Gargoyle meetings are some of the most interesting and contentious on campus.[For people who love to obsess about things like anchor housing. — ed. Exactly!] Group coolness conclaves they are not.
  3. Each year Gargoyle — like College Council, the Rugby Team, Carter House, and most other groups of Ephs — is different. It is reasonable to make the claim that a specific Gargoyle “delegation” (perhaps ill-chosen terminology, eh?) is into self-cool-talk. It is generally unreasonable to make sweeping claims about all Gargoyles.
  4. The members of Gargoyle sometimes do useful things. How often and how useful is a matter of some debate, but as long as, net/net, the results are positive (and the cost is zero), Williams is better off.
  5. The main function of Gargoyle is to provide two things. First, it gives its members standing. The administration and important alumni treat you differently if you are working on something and you’re a Gargoyle. This is not a big effect, but it is there. Second, it provides you with incentive. Having applied to Gargoyle with a plan to do something good for Williams, you are a bad person if you don’t work on it, if you let the other pressures and responsibilities of college life take over. You may not succeed, but you should try. You took someone else’s spot. By joining Gargoyle, you made a promise. You need to keep it.

The more interesting question is: Should you apply for Gargoyle? [I believe that applications are due soon.] Answer: Probably not. Given that the only real benefit is a) to talk about college policies with wonks who want to make Williams better and b) to work on such projects yourself, you should only join if this is what you want to do. If not, don’t join.

Print  •  Email