UTAH TECH UNIVERSITY'S STUDENT NEWS SOURCE | June 17, 2024

The friends club: A place at Utah Tech for making connections

Connecting with new people on campus is one of the many things college has to offer. Utah Tech University is in the making of creating a club just for that. Miki Akiyama | Sun News Daily

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From laser tag to improv—there’s something for everyone among Utah Tech University’s club offerings.

Whether students are looking to expand their knowledge, become more active or try something new, there are many different clubs that cater to different student’s demographics, personalities and interests.

Although students may have different reasons for joining a club, clubs are available and constantly being created for students to connect to the campus and form friendships.

In fact, Ali Threet, assistant vice president and dean of students, and James Threet, accounts and records assistant for business services, felt inspired to create a club that was designed for the purpose of meeting new people, forming friendships and becoming more social. 

“Toward the end of fall semester, I had about 15 students who informed me that they had missed the ‘friends’ boat,” Ali Threet said. “They explained they often went to activities alone and felt like everyone there already had their group of friends. Being lonely is terrible, and my heart was breaking as I listened to similar versions of this same story.”

With this thought in mind, Ali Threet and James Threet built a club where students are encouraged to be honest and vulnerable to establish meaningful relationships. During club meetings, students spend time eating food and getting to know each other in a “structured, yet fun” environment. 

The first meeting of the club was held at the start of the spring semester, and Dakota Reagle, a freshman general studies major from Atlantic City, New Jersey, was one of its first attendees. 

“During the meeting we introduced ourselves, and then we just made plans on where to hang out and what things that we could do to be more social,” Reagle said. “One of the ideas was to smile at three people a day to just get out of that introverted awkwardness.”

An idea the club members formed at the meeting was to attend the men’s basketball game against New Mexico State on Jan. 21. Reagle and other club members followed through with their plans and used what they learned from the club meeting to form friendships and make memories together. 

“Because of this club, I was able to go to my first college basketball game, and I got to sit with people I had just met,” Reagle said. “Afterward, we went and hung out, and that was a really cool and good experience.”

Other than encouraging students to make plans with each other outside of club meetings, Ali Threet said other goals she has for the club are to facilitate ways for students interested in going to events to find other students to go with. She said she also hopes to provide opportunities for students to practice social skills and increase awareness on how there are many students who are actively trying to make friends.

Audrey Huskie, a freshman general studies major from St. George, said another goal Ali Threet and James Threet have for the club is for students to take what they learn from the club and graduate from it when they have made friends.

“James Threet was kind of explaining his point of view on things, and he said that this isn’t the type of club you want to be in forever,” Huskie said. “It’s kind of something that you graduate out of, so people who join the club are there to make friends, and once they make friends within the club, that’s when you graduate out of it.”

Fernando Rodos, a junior marketing major from Hurricane, stands as the former Utah Tech Student Association vice president of clubs, and he said being a part of clubs has benefited him in many ways. 

“Joining and starting clubs is beneficial because the number one thing that I like is that you get to meet new friends,” Rodos said. “Getting to meet new friends you network with or share the same hobby with is just all around fun.”

Rodos said having a variety of clubs is important and helps the many students that attend Utah Tech find a club that best interests them.

“I feel like having a variety of clubs available really adds to the college experience,” Reagle said. “For example, I didn’t plan on joining any clubs or anything because I’m kind of antisocial, but I would say clubs are important and have helped me find more friends.” 

With over 100 clubs and organizations offered at Utah Tech, each caters to a specific demographic of people that share a similar interest. 

“To me, all the clubs stand out,” Rodos said. “I like for the Friends club specifically that it’ll reach a different demographic. Ali’s club, I think it’s great. It’ll get a lot more students that you wouldn’t even imagine would like to be inside the club, so I think just the demographic that she’s targeting is what I really like about it.”

Students interested in joining the club can schedule an appointment with Ali Threet through the Navigate app.