Students breathe new life into clubs, seek new members

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For students expecting college to be a challenge when it comes to making friends, those who attended last week’s Club Rush may have been taken aback.

Club presidents and members waved passersby down Jan. 7 and 8, encouraging them to sign up for club memberships. Brandon Lewis, the vice president of clubs and a senior business major from Coalville, said Dixie State University boasts more than 80 active clubs, which are vital components for an enriched college life.

“Clubs are the lifeblood of the campus,” Lewis said. “(Not being involved) takes away from the college experience. You always want to go to college, have a great experience, and have fun, so really getting invested in a club is the way to do it.”

The clubs available to DSU students range from athletic to academic and easygoing to purposeful. Included in the list of clubs at www.dixiestudentlife.com are clubs for ballroom dancing, Chinese speaking, Japanese speaking, Spanish speaking, theater, cycling, accountancy, psychology, chemistry, parkour, longboarding and skimboarding, which only account for a fraction of what’s available for students to join.

Additionally, with each semester comes fresh takes on either new or existing clubs. Danielle Christensen, a junior CIT major from St. George, is the treasurer of the Design Alliance, a re-vamped version of last semester’s Sticker and Design Club. She said the Design Alliance has more of a general emphasis on graphic design in addition to its focus on sticker and button making.

“We’re not just sitting at a computer the whole time — we’re actually doing stuff and having fun,” Christensen said. “We want our club to be a fun (place) where people can come and make stuff and learn a little bit about graphic design, so you don’t have to know much about graphic design to join.”

Desiree Chavez, a freshman secondary education major from St. George and president of the Sci-Fi Fantasy Club, is also bringing new life to her club, which she said died out a few years ago. She said for this semester, the club now has a more structured activity schedule, in which members meet twice a week.

“We hang out, we watch science fiction and anime, and play video games, and we’re fans of basically everything,” Chavez said. “We all like the same things so we can just hang out, and it’s no stress. It’s just kind of a family that has fun.”

While some clubs are more carefree, others have more intent. Braun Black, a sophomore psychology major from Moab and president of the Dixie State University Students for Liberty Club, said his club emphasizes the importance of political awareness, especially concerning individual freedoms.  

“We’re here as a political club that wants to promote individual liberty both in your economic and personal freedoms and help educate people about those ideas on the political spectrum,” Black said. “We’re here to encourage that and have fun while doing it.”

Black said he and his club members are taking action this semester after DSU was listed in the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education article “The 10 Worst Colleges for Free Speech: 2013.” 

“It’s very disheartening to us as we really believe in free speech, but also we know that it gives us an opportunity to get out there and educate people about the value of free speech,” Black said.

The Liberty Club members began a “live free speech wall” by wearing white T-shirts around campus and handing Sharpies to students, encouraging them to express their free speech liberties by writing on the T-shirts. Also, Black said he and his members have started a petition that outlines some of the policies that are listed in DSU’s codes of conduct that they disagree with.

“We hope to get members to break out of their shells, become involved, and care about the world and the governments around them,” Black said.

Other clubs revolve around community service. The She Club, an all-girl service club, is one that is modeled after a sorority. Its co-president Sophia Grzeskiewicz, a sophomore psychology major from Salt Lake City, said the She Club is also designed to act as a support system for women on campus searching for the relationships sororities are known to cultivate.

“Because there isn’t one on campus, we want to be that place for girls to get to know each other like in a sorority,” Grzeskiewicz said. “We just want that sisterhood, we want that bond, and we want that networking even after school.”

Lewis said students interested in joining a club can sign up at Orgsync.com. Also, any student can start a club as long as he or she has at least 10 members, with four being full-time students. Club founders must also find a DSU staff member to advise their club, create a club constitution, and go to the clubs and organizations council for approval.

Students can submit requests to spotlight DSU clubs by contacting Dixie Sun News on Facebook or by calling the Dixie Sun newsroom at (435) 652-7818.