MADISON VAUGHN ’21
When she first stepped onto campus in September 2017, Mimi MacKilligan ’21 planned to join the Trinity College French Club, only to find that the club was no longer in existence. MacKilligan decided to make it her goal to revive the French Club and completed this goal in January 2018.
In past years, the French Club was a “withering” organization with seniors taking it over every year, leaving it to disappear the following fall. MacKilligan worked side-by-side with Visiting Lecturer of Language and Culture Studies Karim Mabrouk to bring the French Club back to life. All aspects of the club were established by January of this year, including a budget. “All it takes is an advisor, dedicated people, and effort. We act as if the club never left. It proves to show nothing is impossible if you’re willing to put in the work,” said MacKilligan, who is now the organization’s president.
The club has become very involved on Trinity’s campus despite having just a few members. First, they brought back Pause Café and Crêpe Night as a basis for the club. The Pause Café offers coffee and snacks and allows for students to take a break, work on school work, practice French, and interact with peers. The Crêpe Night occurs with the same goals, while serving members of the community crêpes. Anyone at Trinity is welcome to these events, whether they are wanting to practice the French language, learn about French culture, or just want to stop by and enjoy a short break. This semester, the club has planned two Pause Cafés and one Crêpe Night on April 20. Another upcoming event linked to the organization is “April in Paris,” a week-long French film festival featuring several Francophone films from April 8-14.
Since this is a “revival project,” the past events have mostly been attended by French Club members, but they hope to attract more people throughout the rest of the semester and in the future.
The club has also organized a trip to Montréal, Canada and will being going April 6-8. This field trip was once a hallmark of the organization.
MacKilligan hopes to see a balance within the French Club between academics and culture in the semesters to come. She wants French students to be able to use this as a tool for their classes and also other Trinity students to get involved, even if they don’t speak the language. MacKilligan is hoping to initiate student-run crash courses in the near future that allow anyone who is interested to come and learn basic French. She also plans to start exploring Francophone culture through cinema to show students that French culture exists in more places than just France and Canada. Lastly, she hopes to expand the Montréal trip so more people have a chance to visit the diverse Canadian city.
The club hopes to move people away from the French “stereotype” and have people realize that there is more to French language and culture than the typical Parisian scene.
“The French Club had been reactivated, its goals have been set, and we have a lot in store for Trinity and its students,” said MacKilligan.