By tuli alexander
The Associated Students contains approximately 200 active clubs, with 140 consistently returning each fall and new ones popping up all the time. Anyone scrolling down the list of clubs may very well find more than one that fits their interests; however, some might catch one’s eye as being rather weird.
“Even if it’s pretty off-the-wall, we want to give students the opportunity to gather around their interests and do what they want to do,” said Casey Hayden, student activities advisor.
Here is an overview of some of those off-the-wall campus clubs:
Against Civilization is a new club this year, where students concerned about the environment sit down and ask themselves the question, “What will it take to stop these people?” according to founder Dillon Thomson. “These people” refers to anyone who causes large negative environmental effects.
Although Thomson said the club is about taking the necessary actions to bring about the change that’s needed, the club has not yet participated in any other activities besides discussion.
Friends of Asian Elephants is a club that started last year. They recently held a bake sale on Vendors Row and raised enough money to foster an elephant for a year at the Elephant Nature Park in northern Thailand, which provides a natural setting for mistreated and abused elephants, said founder Sally Sandack.
Girl Scouts of WWU was recently revived by Cathryn Smith for people who subscribe to the mission of the Girl Scouts. According to girlscouts.org, “Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place.” Instead of earning badges and selling cookies, adult Girl Scouts might run their own troops or volunteer within the Girl Scouts organization.
“It was important to revive the club, especially in this area where there’s a strong Girl Scout following,” Smith said. “So it seemed natural to get it going again because a lot of leaders and people in the community were asking if Western had a Girl Scouts club.”
Harry Potter Club has 25 regular members in its fourth year with founding President Carol Cordray. The club’s activities include viewing Harry Potter movies, playing Harry Potter Jeopardy and playing games of Quidditch. They’ve modified Quidditch, making it playable by the magic-impaired by running, rather than flying, around with broomsticks and using hula hoops as goal posts. Players throw dodge balls representing “bludgers” at one another and use a volleyball as the “quaffle” to score points. A gold-clad person runs around campus acting as the “golden snitch.”
The biggest event the Harry Potter Club hosts is the Yule Ball, which drew about 250 people this year. There were wizard rock bands and a costume contest, Cordray said.
Bellingham Bike Gang, Croquet Club, Kite Flying Society, Pog Club Revolution and Poke’mon Club all form a supergroup under the umbrella organization, Fun-Time Coalition, according to the founder of all of these clubs, Devin Spencer. Spencer wanted to have as much fun as possible, so he created a lot of clubs, he said. The Fun-Time Coalition group on Facebook lists what’s going on with each club, Spencer said. None of the clubs have regular meetings but Spencer is ready to take action at the demand of the people.
“If the people want more of it, then I’ll give it to them,” he said.
Bellingham Bike Gang takes place downtown on the occasional weekend night and members ride around in a big group, Spencer said. Some members wear capes and have wacky helmets. The gang only has about 10 members, but they want people to build up rival bike gangs, he said. The club plans to organize a huge game of hide-and-seek.
Croquet Club was started by Spencer a few years ago, and has about 20 regular members, he said.
“As a huge fan of croquet, I want to bring it back more new-generation,” he said. “It’s generally seen as a mom-and-pop thing.”
Each tournament is themed and participants are occasionally encouraged to dress in costume. Coming up is the Spring Classic, where a king and queen will be crowned and expected to don giant robes.
Kite Flying Society has about 10 members that meet at Zuanich Park at the marina and fly kites. There’s an octopus kite that has eight legs that dangle down and it looks like it’s swimming, Spencer said. Also there’s a big kitten that’s playing with a ball of yarn. Most hilarious, he said, is a giant pair of legs wearing jogging shorts and striped tube socks. It looks like the legs are running when it’s flying. The club has about five extra kites for people who want to fly but might not have one, Spencer said.
Pog Club Revolution seeks to bring back that elementary school game that some school districts made illegal in schools because it was considered gambling and a distraction, Spencer said.
“The mission of Pog Club Revolution is to take that back, stand up to the man and get pogs back to the general public,” he said.
Pogs are cardboard circles about the size of a half dollar. They’re stacked facedown in a pile, then someone takes the “slammer,” a metal disc, and hits the top of the Pog pile. The player then collects the pogs that have landed face up. Players either play for fun or for “keeps.”
Poke’mon Club was created this year but only has a few members so far.
“College students are not so easy to admit that they like Poke’mon,” Spencer said.
A tournament is scheduled for Saturday, April 25 and a Poke’mon master will be crowned, he said.
Underwater Hockey has been a club for 15 years, according to Eric Breuhaus, a student who has been participating for the past four years. Players decked out in snorkel gear use a foot-long, curved stick to pass a rubber-encased cement puck around on the bottom of the Carver Gym pool. Although the game is technically non-contact, there’s always been a physical aspect to it, Breuhaus said. Players wear helmets to protect against kicks to the head and gloves to protect their hands against the floor of the pool.
Breuhaus said he can hold his breath for 20 seconds to one minute while playing, but some players can hold their breath for up to two minutes while playing.
“It looks really ridiculous from out of the water,” Breuhaus said. “From the surface it looks like salmon swimming upstream. But it makes a lot more sense when you’re watching underwater.”
If you want to get involved, go to www.as.wwu.edu and click on “clubs” for a full list and information about starting a club.