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Members Come and Go But Do All Clubs Last Forever?

The Emmanuel College Student Activities webpage boasts a grand total of 39 campus clubs, activities, and student organizations. Most students know about the big ones like C.A.S.E. (Campus Activities and Student Events) or the B.S.U. (Black Student Union), which have two of the biggest member bases on campus. But what about the clubs just getting started? What makes a club popular long-term, and what makes a club just a flash in the pan?

Two of Emmanuel’s newest clubs are the Yoga Club, started in the Fall 2012 semester, and the Ulysses Book Club, which officially became active in January of this year. Beyond their relative newness, both of these clubs also share the attribute of having enthusiastic presidents, a quality that Amma Marfo, assistant director of student activities at Emmanuel, feels contributes heavily to a club’s success.

Clubs with executive boards in which all officers are equally passionate about the club tend to be the most successful, Marfo said.

Dave DeAngelis, director of activities for Suffolk University’s student involvement office, agrees. “One of the most important responsibilities [current student leaders] have is setting new student leaders up to be successful,” he said.

DeAngelis, also the chair of the board of directors for the National Association for Campus Activities, said the other most important thing for a club to do is recruit new members. “The more members you have, the easier it becomes to run the group,” he said.

Yoga Club President Hilary Skov doesn’t want to increase membership too much at once. “Yoga classes are better with a smaller, more intimate group,” she said. The club meets twice a week, Tuesdays at 8:00 p.m. and Wednesdays at 7:00 p.m. in Avenue Commons.

“At first I was skeptical, like ‘I don’t want to do yoga in a trailer,’” Skov said of the group’s location. But she went on to add that it’s been a perfect environment for their meetings: quiet, enclosed, and peaceful.

The popularity of the club, which has around 20 attendees each meeting, grew based on word of mouth.

“I had one poster up at the beginning, but that was it,” Skov said. “I didn’t want to over-advertise.”

According to Skov, there’s a large interest around campus, but the modular unit can’t accommodate everyone at once. Skov hopes to keep the club going and to see it grow.

“I’d love for everybody who wants to join to be able to,” she said.

Another younger president is Ulysses Book Club leader James Withers, an Emmanuel freshman. The book club focuses on reading classic literature in a more casual environment; this semester, their book is, appropriately, Ulysses by James Joyce.

“The idea was of actually reading these difficult works outside of a classroom setting, without that added pressure,” Withers said. “It’s about reading the book without thinking ‘What will I have to remember? What will I have to write about?’”

The membership for the Ulysses Book Club came from word of mouth, similar to the Yoga Club, though the member number for the book club is smaller. At their weekly meetings (Tuesdays at 12:30 p.m.) there is a small dedicated group of seven or eight members who come to each meeting.

“It’s a first year club, so we wanted to keep it small,” said Withers, adding that a smaller group often works better for having good discussions. “We’re not actively looking to go out and get a lot of new members.” Most of the club base will be sticking around next semester, and there are no seniors on the executive board, so there won’t be much loss for them.

Only time will tell, however, if the Yoga Club and the Ulysses Book Club will become long-standing campus institutions or if they’ll go the way of clubs like the quidditch team, the Sweet Saints, and the Chess Club, all of which started and vanished within the last four years here at Emmanuel.

“They’re student activities, not staff activities,” DeAngelis said. “It all depends on student interest and culture.”

Posted by on April 11, 2013. Filed under Around Campus,Clubs & Organizations. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.