Le Cercle Français is Mercer University’s official French club. The club is made up of a collection of students from various majors and walks of life, united in their interest of the French language and culture.
Level of familiarity with the language varies among club members, and while many are majors or minors, many just come out of interest.
To reassure those lacking in confidence of their language skills, the club meetings are mostly conducted in English, though there are opportunities to speak with more advanced students.
There are approximately 15 people who attend regularly, pay dues and participate, and the club is always open to additional student participation in all things French. In a typical meeting, the club shares ideas for what future activities they want to plan.
Two weeks ago, eight members of the club, accompanied by French professors Anna Weaver and Randy Harshbarger, went up to Atlanta to see Théâtre du Rêve’s bilingual addition of “Lovers and Lunatics.”
The show was a combination of scenes and one-acts presented in French, and then performed again in English. Later this semester, the club is planning to make a trip to the French Festival in Atlanta.
Among other activities, the club usually hosts two picnics a year. The first is typically put together by Professor Harshbarger and the second hosted by Professor Weaver.
“These picnics are open to anyone interested in anything French. This includes all French classes outside of the club,” said Weaver, the club’s advisor. “I love to hear about new interested students. The club strives to make French language and culture a part of peoples’ lives outside of the classroom.”
Every year the club celebrates National French Week in November. The celebration is a week of French-related activities ranging from music and film programs, to speakers and partnership with the cafeteria to serve French food.
Joseph Stanford, the club’s Treasurer, said, “Overall, the group believes that French language, people and culture have made a profound impact on the past and continue to make an impact in the present. As a result, the club believes that it is worthwhile to explore, learn and discover the impact of France and La Francophonie on world affairs.”
La Francophonie is a reference to the nations that share a common history with France, use the French language or have been influenced by French culture.
Many French Club members on campus represent the group of countries that make up the Francophonie. This includes representation from Haiti and Africa, and many countries that were colonized by the French.
The strong French influence on numerous cultures also increases the club’s involvement with International Student Organizations. “My favorite aspect of the club is the different people and groups I get to meet and interact with,” said Stanford. “I love having a very diverse group of friends and acquaintances, and I feel that the French club provides that opportunity to meet others you normally wouldn’t get the chance to see.”
For those interested in the club, meetings take place in Knight 108 on Wednesdays at 10 about every two weeks.