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Trinity's Oldest Clubs Share a Common History

       Trinity’s four oldest social clubs … the Bengal Lancers, the Triniteers, SPURS, and Chi Beta Epsilon … share a common history. The Bengal Lancers began as a club for Freshmen men. As the Lancers moved into the upper classes, they longed for a way to remain together. Wanting to continue their traditions of brotherhood and camaraderie, several former Lancers joined with other upperclassmen to form a new club at Trinity: the Engineers…a group for Trinity’s upper-classmen. The “Engineers” later became the Triniteers. 

       According to an old Triniteer website, "[t]he name, ‘Triniteers,’ was not originated until 1945, [but] the actual founding of the club was in 1936, with the organization of a small group of students known as the ‘Engineers.’”  From 1936, until the Lancers and the Teers transitioned into four-year fraternities, freshmen leaders became Bengal Lancers, then moved on, as Sophomores, to the Triniteers. In around 1945, the Triniteers drafted a Constitution, formally adopting the name “Triniteers.” The Triniteers honor the nine charter members of the “new” club as nine rays of light on their fraternity pin. Of the nine founders, seven were first Bengal Lancers[1].

       Trinity’s two oldest sororities also share a common, although more convoluted, history. Trinity’s women formed organizations to raise school spirit. In the 20’s and 30’s, women could be part of the Pep Squad. In 1939, the women formed the Lancerettes to replace the Pep Squad. The Lancerettes were open to freshmen girls who had distinguished themselves by their dedication and loyalty to Trinity. Lancerettes went on to be Tigerettes in their sophomore year, chosen by the outgoing Lancerettes. So, just as Bengal Lancers could become Triniteers after their freshman year, Lancerettes could join the Tigerettes as sophomores. In 1952, the Lancerettes and the Tigerettes were combined to form Chi Beta Epsilon, which was still limited to a girl’s first two years at Trinity.  In 1956, Chi Beta Epsilon became a four year club.

       Trinity’s oldest social club, SPURS, was founded in 1932.  SPURS (for Secrecy, Pride, Unity, Respect and Sisterhood) began as an organization for women interested in supporting, or “spurring” on, Trinity’s athletic teams. Until at least 1944, SPURS was an “upper class” organization. Many women joined SPURS after having been Lancerettes during their Freshman year. Thus, many SPURS were first Lancerettes or Tigerettes. At about the same time that Chi Beta Epsilon transitioned into a four year sorority, the SPURS also became a four year sorority.


       So, from the 1930’s until the 1940’s, Lancers became Triniteers, while Lancerettes became Tigerettes and SPURS. This changed in the early 1950’s, when each of these student “spirit” organizations transformed into four year fraternities and sororities. By 1957, the Lancers, Teers, Betas and SPURS were four year fraternities and sororities who shared a common history.

       In 1978, Rev. Raymond Judd recalled the social life on campus in the 50’s, telling the Trinitonian: “University life in those days was quite different. Freshmen were initiated into university life with 6 weeks of hazing. Every "fish" had to wear his beanie at all times. [T]hose who best survived the hazing became Chi Betas and Lancers. At that time these clubs were reserved for freshmen and sophomores. Upperclassmen were eligible for SPURS and Triniteers.” The hazing was sanctioned by the university as a way of bringing incoming freshmen together.


       After the clubs evolved into fraternities and sororities, the Bengal Lancers adopted the women of XBE as their “sisters,” and the bond between the two clubs is reflected in the XBE crest, which contains a small B/L pledge pin. Likewise, the SPURS became the “sister” sorority to the Trinteers, and a Triniteer pin is incorporated into the SPUR crest. The Lancers honored their XBE sisters by selecting young women as “Lancerettes,” and celebrating the honoree with a plaque and serenade.


       These are not the only connections between the four clubs. In the early 1960’s, when the clubs eschewed formal blazers for more informal “jerseys,” the Bengal Lancers adopted the red “home” jersey of the New England Patriots. The Teers likewise used the Patriots’ white “away” jersey.  Around 1989 the long-time supplier of Lancer jerseys went out of business.  Lancers from 1989 onwards did not have the traditional style jersey, and made do with T-shirts that were every bit as “red” as the old jerseys.  Some Alumni never stopped looking to bring back the old style.  In 2018, Matt Shatzkin (Sp. ‘89) found a vendor who agreed to recreate the Lancers’ beloved jersey. Matt was aided in his quest by Tim Murphy ('89), Jock Craig ('89), Raul Quintero ('85), and Rob Parker ('86). Lancer alumni pitched in to buy new jerseys for all of the actives, and the vintage-style Lancer jerseys are once more a familiar sight on the Skyline campus. In a nod toward the clubs’ shared history, the Lancers invited the newly-reorganized Triniteers to use the same supplier to recreate the Teers’ old jersey.


       When you have a brother or a sister, you have a family. Over the years, the Lancers have had brothers and sisters in the Betas, the Teers and the SPURS. We have had periods when we were close, periods of ambivalence, and both friendly and bitter rivalries. But we are brothers and sisters…and despite our differences, we are family.

[1] Bengal Lancer founders of the Triniteers were Hersey, Jackson, King, Magans, Ollif, Taylor, and Young. The two non-Lancer founders were Reinhart and Silber.

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