Quidditch players dash through Rivers Green with brooms between their legs. Greek organizations invite passersby to make a charitable donation for the chance to land one of their members in a dunk tank. Colorful fliers for meetings, movie nights and bake sales spill over the edges of the corkboards and onto the brick walls of Maybank Hall.
With over 220 clubs and student organizations at the College of Charleston, you might think that there’s already something for everybody. However, creative and motivated students start dozens of new clubs every semester, hoping to fill the hours between class and late-night study sessions.
During the 2016 spring semester, students united around shared academic and professional interests to start several officially recognized (and in some cases, student government-funded) organizations.
Check out these eight new clubs entering their first full year at the College in fall 2016. Whether you’re looking for your passion in life or just want something new to do on Thursday afternoons, you’re sure to find something at the College.
1. Women in Philosophy
You’ve heard of Plato and Nietzsche, but what about Hypatia and de Beauvoir? The club Women in Philosophy hopes to bring awareness to the contributions of women in a traditionally male-dominated field.
“We’re excited to spread the word about the club and inspire others to join us in philosophical conversation,” newly-elected President Katie Buckler said. “Especially when it pertains to female thinkers and their many ideas and accomplishments in the field.”
Women in Philosophy members hosted movie nights and discussions as part of the Undergraduate Philosophical Society until January 2016, when they officially struck out on their own to promote gender equality in philosophy.
The club will continue holding movie nights as well as introducing other activities, including study sessions and guest speakers from the departments of Philosophy and Women’s and Gender Studies. Students of any gender and major are welcome to attend.
Did we mention their spring oyster roast? It’s a revived tradition offering students and professors a chance to engage outside of the classroom in a relaxed environment.
Women in Philosophy will meet every other Thursday at 6 p.m. Contact Katie Buckler at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
2. Occupational and Physical Therapy Alliance
When you think of occupational and physical therapy, a fierce rivalry like Clemson versus the University of South Carolina doesn’t easily come to mind. However, the executive board of the Occupational and Physical Therapy Alliance (OPTA) hopes students with an interest in either profession will benefit from working together.
OPTA, founded in February 2016, aims to connect students from the two fields of therapy with each other and with mentors in the Charleston community.
According to the executive board, members of the club will gain knowledge and experience about the two types of therapy and how they work together. “This may enable us to grow in our personal relationships and increase our knowledge of and passion for each occupation,” President Jordan Collins said.
3. Society for Collegiate Leadership and Advancement
The Society for Collegiate Leadership and Advancement (SCLA) is a local chapter of the national honor society of the same name that helps students succeed in academics, careers and life. SCLA reached out to Katie Johnson in 2015 to offer her the position of founding member and chapter president.
“I thought it was a great and helpful organization, so I accepted,” Johnson said.
While SCLA has yet to hold any official meetings, Johnson looks forward to connecting students to mentors through the club. As a national organization, SCLA empowers students through connections with professors and professionals they can call upon during their college years and beyond.
Any student with a GPA of 3.0 or higher is welcome to join. Johnson is currently working with the Office of the Registrar to identify eligible students.
4. Supply Chain Management Club
Majors in the School of Business are some of the most popular at the College of Charleston. But when the College became the first school in South Carolina to offer a supply chain management major in fall 2015, Paige Weiss knew students could use some help discovering it.
“I wanted the students at the College of Charleston to have an opportunity to see what the supply chain management major had to offer and to educate them on the many jobs that are available in the industry,” Weiss said.
With faculty support, Weiss started the Supply Chain Management Club in March 2016 to increase awareness of the new major. The club has already held one meeting, during which a representative from Daimler AG, a multinational automotive company with a facility in Ladson, South Carolina, spoke to members about the company’s production and supply chain.
Weiss plans to bring more company speakers to campus and arrange site visits during the 2016-2017 academic year. Meetings will often end with food and plenty of networking opportunities for members.
Supply Chain Management Club will meet monthly, with specific dates depending on the availability of visiting company representatives. Contact Paige Weiss at email@example.com with questions, or visit the club’s Facebook page.
5. Student Diversity and Inclusion Council
Diversity isn’t just a buzzword—it’s a fact of life that faculty and students at the College are increasingly working to promote and celebrate. Members of the Student Diversity and Inclusion Council (SDIC), a student organization within the Office of Institutional Diversity, hope to do just that.
“Our hope is to have as many students representing a variety of races, religions, sexuality, disability, gender and more in our organization so that everyone can be heard,” graduate assistant Ciera Gordon said.
Gordon worked in the Office of Institutional Diversity (OID) under Associate Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer John Bello-Ogunu Sr. to revamp the previous Student Diversity Advocates organization as SDIC.
“The SDIC has the potential to become one of the major positive change-agents on our campus for the active promotion and advancement of meaningful diversity and inclusion at the College of Charleston. I am very excited about its creation, and my staff and I look forward to partnering with this very important organization,” Bello-Ogunu said.
The new council will provide a platform for students to bring their perspective on diversity issues to faculty and peers, which members hope will result in positive change in the College and surrounding communities.
“This could be done through creating policy change or by providing education on an issue that is not tackled on campus,” Council Chair Niki Patel said.
SDIC’s main goal for 2016-2017 will be to increase their membership with students who are “not afraid to stand up for justice and equality,” Patel said.
As SDIC grows, they will develop programs and events each year that target their annual goals. All members will be encouraged to present their ideas and opinions during this process.
SDIC will conduct a poll at the beginning of the semester to determine the best meeting time. Contact Niki Patel at firstname.lastname@example.org or Membership Chair Averyona Gainey at email@example.com with questions.
6. Southern Poverty Law Center
From handing out roses on King Street with statistics concerning violence against women to making t-shirts in Cougar Mall, members of the College of Charleston chapter of Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) develop creative campaigns to raise awareness and funds for a range of social justice issues.
SPLC is a regional organization that advocates for the rights of vulnerable groups, including children, immigrants, the LGBT community, prisoners and people living in poverty. They primarily use litigation and education to promote civil rights for all.
The College’s chapter was sanctioned by SGA in February 2016, but has been active since the end of the fall 2015 semester. SPLC members have raised funds for the domestic violence shelter My Sister’s House and held voter registration drives, encouraging students to make their voices heard on civil rights and social justice issues. In February 2016, President Sarah Villafañe and Secretary Maria Figueroa attended a diversity roundtable with President Glenn McConnell ’69 and other student leaders representing advocacy organizations.
“Our club is committed to fighting hate and bigotry,” Villafañe said.
The SPLC on-campus chapter will focus on juvenile justice in fall 2016, an issue members identified as something they could positively impact. Any student may join to help plan and carry out education and advocacy events.
7. Spoon University CofC
For college students seeking to enrich their diet of microwaved ramen and cereal, Spoon University offers thousands of recipes you can cook in your dorm room on a student budget. And who better to write recipes for college students than students themselves?
Kristen Kornbluth reached out to Spoon headquarters in 2015. After a few rounds of interviews, she became the founder and editorial director of the College’s chapter.
Kornbluth wanted to bring Spoon to the College because she felt there were no other clubs like it. With an internationally-renowned culinary scene steps away from campus, Charleston is the perfect city for young food journalists and chefs to develop their craft.
“I love food and writing, so it seemed like that extracurricular activity I had been missing in my life,” she said. For Kornbluth, leading the chapter and writing about food in Charleston “has been nothing short of awesome.”
Spoon University CofC has been around since August 2015, when Kornbluth began petitioning to be recognized as an official student organization. Kornbluth hopes official recognition will bring Spoon more readership and opportunities to reach out to the community.
Food lovers with strong skills in writing, photography, social media, event planning and community outreach should apply to join Spoon University’s staff.
8. Nutrition Club
For students less adventurous in the kitchen but still interested in healthy living, Nutrition Club can provide knowledge and resources to help you eat well.
Nutrition Club began in spring 2016 with the goal of educating students about what is in their food and what it does to their bodies, club President Carson Keeter said.
The club works with school dietitian Ashley Galloway Thomas to hold workshops and events promoting healthy eating for everybody.
“It doesn’t matter what diet you do or don’t follow,” Keeter said. “We have a wide variety of members, from gluten-free to vegan to pescatarian to everything-arian.”
From documentary screenings to free oatmeal breakfasts, Keeter looks forward to more frequent events for the 2016-2017 school year.
This article was written by Laura Cergol, a senior from Frederick, Md., studying communication and linguistics in the Honors College at the College of Charleston. She is also a William Aiken Fellow and a member of the Global Scholars program.