Hitting the Clubs

If students didn't already know, Thursday night's club fair made it clear: There is a campus group for everyone at Brooks.

Those who love fishing, for example, can join Fins and Feathers or the Outdoor Club. Those who believe "fish are friends, not food," may be drawn to the Marine Biology club. Students more interested in monetizing a big catch could consider Women in Business. And Brooksians who couldn't care less about fish and just want to, say, build a robot, there's the VEX Robotics Team — and 48 other options.

"We've added almost 20 new clubs this year," said Assistant Dean of Students Ashley Johnston, who declared the September 6 event from 7 to 8 p.m. a success. "We began emailing with students about clubs in August, which built up some excitement and gave them time and space to think about it. This first week on campus, they're eager to share their passions, so they really took ownership, making signs for the fair and bringing their energy and enthusiasm to recruiting members and getting new groups going."

See a full gallery of photos from the club fair event on brooksschoolphotos.com.

Among the new offerings are Spikeball Club, which will host tournaments throughout the year; Brooks Comedy Society, "for anyone with a sense of humor" interested in performing at a comedy night, doing skits during all-school meeting or getting into lip sync battles; and No Planet B Initiative, formed with the goal of helping the Brooks community and the environment by introducing measures such as reducing the use of straws and conserving power.

"It really speaks to how diverse our student body is in terms of interests, as well as the fact that our students are pretty motivated to get involved," said Johnston. Not to mention new students' confidence.

Roughly five of the new clubs that manned a booth at the hour-long event in Wilder Dining Hall were proposed, and organized, by new students who only just joined the Brooks community a couple of days earlier!

At least 80 percent of the student body is a member of at least one club (each of which is mentored by a faculty member), according to Johnston. "It's rare that a student isn't a member of an organization, be it student government or another club," she said. "At Brooks, it's cool to be in a club. It's part of the community and the culture here, which is unique I think because you don't find that everywhere."

The school's support helps. Every other week clubs enjoy a designated time period during the academic day to meet (alternating with all-school meeting). Clubs may also choose to meet in the evenings, but Johnston notes that, "having structured time during the day is really helpful in fostering longevity in clubs."

Many of the core groups on campus — Alianza Latina, for anyone of Hispanic or Latino descent; Asian American Association (Triple A); Black Student Union; Gender & Sexuality Alliance focusing on LGBTQIA+ issues; Model U.N.; and Peer Tutoring — have been a part of campus life for many years now, in fact.

"What impressed me most about the fair this year is that there are a lot of service oriented clubs, as well as ones that help to bring social awareness to the community and empowerment to groups that may be marginalized," she added.

And thanks to the momentum of the club fair's member signups, every proposed group has enough members to run this year. (The size of a group is typically between 15 and 20 students).

All that's left is for the students and their club advisor to start meeting and begin planning their activities and events. "We're here," said Johnston, "to support them for all the things they want to do!"

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