Learn more about how the club of diverse minds provides a safe place for students

The club of diverse minds members, president and secretary at their weekly club meeting. Sydney Johnson | Sun News Daily

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The Club of Diverse Minds is the first club at Utah Tech University to highlight neurodivergent students on campus.

Founded three years ago, this neurodiverse club celebrates belonging and acceptance within the student body while also having fun.

A person who identifies as neurodivergent might be someone who has autism, ADHD and/or other mental health conditions.

Club founder and president Ian Kelly, a sophomore management major from Chicago, wanted to find a club on campus where he belongs.

When Kelly realized there wasn’t a club highlighting neurodiversity, he realized it was time to step up. With help from friends and professors on campus, Kelly founded the club of diverse minds and is the current president of the club.

Kelly said, “What better person to start it than me – someone who actually gets it; somebody who struggled in the past and has struggled to find my voice and my place as leader.”

Providing a safe space on campus for students who are neurodivergent is important for club members.

Kelly said, “Our goal is to allow students who are neurodiverse, and also students who maybe don’t even identify as neurodiverse, to be able to build lasting friendships here on campus.”

Club members meet every Thursday to discuss upcoming events and hang out. Club members vote on upcoming events and take into account the importance of including everyone in the club.

This club’s mission is to bring students together as allies and to form a sense of belonging on campus.

In the past, club members have collaborated with the LGBTQ+ club and the Utah Tech Esports club. The club presidency wants to collaborate with different clubs around campus to form a unity with the student body.

Along with partnering up with other clubs on campus, they are partnering up with Encircle. Encicle is a non-profit organization that helps LGBTQ youth, young adults and families with feeling included and welcomed in any group they are in.

Encircle has also partnered up with the LGBTQ+ club on campus to provide support to LGBTQ students.

Eric Pederson, Dean of the college of science, engineering and technology, said: “We’re supportive of them, and we like to help them with events. They create kind of a little culture of connectedness and belonging and becoming…where they can do things together and kind of support and help each other.”

The college of science, engineering, and technology helps support the club with funding when needed. The funding goes to help put together different events for the club.

Pederson said, “I hope, first of all, that they feel like they belong to something a group of like-minded, enlightened-thinking students and that belonging has a big role in student success.”

Upcoming events for the club of diverse minds include:

  • Weekly Thursday meetings at the Udvar-Hazy School of Business building on the second floor
  • April 13th – club event at Fiesta Fun Center, time TBA

The Club of Diverse Minds is open and excited to collaborate with other clubs around campus in the future. Celebrating everyone’s differences is something that club members are looking forward to.

For more information on the club and their upcoming events, you can follow them on Instagram, @cdm_ut.