‘I feel like I belong here’ – Campus clubs give opportunity for learning, socializing

By Lydia Hansen
Editor in Chief
Lydia.Hansen1961@mb.rctc.edu

To date, RCTC is home to 28 student clubs. Yet a surprisingly small number of students realize that many of these clubs even exist, much less what they do or how to get involved.

To those unaware or currently on the fence about joining a club, current members of various clubs have offered their opinions on why club participation can be beneficial to both students and the general campus community.

“It’s a really, really good way to be social,” says Katlyn House of her participation in the Music Tech Club, pictured alongside the club’s president, Eddie Otterness.

Mallory Stahl, president of the French Club, finds that it gives her an academic boost.

“Almost everyone who is taking French is automatically in the club,” she said. “If you’re struggling with something in French 1, for instance, you can join the club because there will be someone who has already done that class who can help you.”

Additionally, as a business major, she finds the option to hold leadership positions in clubs are good experience. “Being president gives me a step up so I can reach out to my peers,” Stahl said.

Similar clubs, like Art and Design, Music Tech or Engineering/Physics have a similar academic focus, which provides students in those programs with another opportunity to learn more skills in their field while interacting with students who share similar goals.

Auto Club President Tyler Hoeff, right, and club Secretary Mason Stuhldreher, left, promote their group on Campus Club Expo day, complete with a spiffy poster and free pop. Hoeff explains that “I’m in Auto Tech, and having auto club just adds more to what I learn.”

Mason Stuhldreher, secretary of the Auto Club, finds that club attendance “shows who really has the same interest level as you. I’m in school but I’m also in Auto Club because this is what I really want to do.”

However, for others club involvement is more about the social aspect and is seen as a way to meet others with similar interests and make friends on campus.

“It’s a really, really good way to be social,” said Katlyn House, a member of the Music Tech Club. “I wasn’t very social before this club. It’s a really good way to meet people. I’ve made some really good friends through this club.”

GSA member Tori Williams has had the same experiences and remarked that her involvement with the club “gives me a way to feel like I belong and am accepted. Now that I now there are people like me, I feel like I belong here.”

Echo photos by Lydia Hansen
Tori Williams, left, and Molly Bluhm, right, of the Gay Straight Alliance club. Bluhm believes club membership “gives students a way to express who they really are. A lot of times people don’t have a place to make their voice heard like this.”

Art Club adviser Jeff Jacobsen reported similar testimonies from past and present Art Club members.

“I’ve had students tell me that the reason they got through college was because the club helped them make friends and get through school,” he said.

Jacobsen also said that while attendance can fluctuate wildly from week to week as well as from year to year, one of the advantages that clubs have is that they are open to everyone, regardless of their major or past experience. Many of the members of Art Club are not actually taking art classes.

However, for some students, clubs are a way to step away from the world of academics and relax with friends. “You have somewhere to vent off some steam,” said Josh Flatten, a member of the Table Top Gaming Club.

Regardless of how or why students choose to get involved with student clubs, the door is always open for those who are interested.

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