Club Awareness Day brings campus groups to the forefront

Flyers were abound on the SMC quad, on Thursday. They were being passed around like currency, collected in stacks by passersby, and sometimes, ending up as litter on the floor.

Students gathering around club oriented booths with club members and leaders were being handed out the sheets. Students were getting the chance to join clubs and become informed about the many, diverse options that shape the SMC community with Club Awareness Day.

Some of the clubs present were the Early Childhood Development Club, Poetry Club, Soccer Club, Student Veteran Association, Gender Sexuality Alliance, Aqua Surf Club, Creative Writing Club, Plastic-Free SMC, Pan-African Student Union, Marine Bio Club, Film Club, and many more.

The Inter-Club Council put the event together in an effort to boost club membership and increase awareness of campus involvement. As opposed to the upcoming Club Row, this event did not encourage any fundraising by clubs, leaving them to rely on their handouts for attention.

Members of the Aqua Surf Club were dressed in their bodysuits and swimwear, handing out brochures offering surf lessons. Club member Bryson Negri, showing off his surfboard, mentions the club is mainly involved in beach clean ups and offers a focus on environmental awareness.

The Creative Collaboration Club’s members walked around promoting the idea of collaboration between students and the clubs themselves to develop new projects.

SMC’s Gender Sexuality Alliance (GSA) offers discussions about LGBT issues in society and they also provide team-building exercises. “We also focus on bonding, so that our community can bond and get closer,” said club president Axel Rowe.

The GSA offered out a small booklet sized zine entitled “Parrotfish” referring to a species of fish that changes genders in their lifetime.

The Student Veteran Association (SVA) was looking to welcome not only all vets, but also non-veterans to join their club. Club president Jennifer Garcia became the long-running club’s first civilian president by winning over the other members’ confidence and respect through her understanding of their expectations and needs; needs she came to know from her fiancé Brandon Michael Beckman who passed shortly afer returning from serving in Fallujah, Iraq in the Marines.

Garcia, at a recent SMC SVA barbeque hosted by the American Legion Post 283, accentuated the group’s family atmosphere. Claudia Acosta, the club’s vice-president and former Army staff sergeant, rebuffed the misconception that vets dwell in solitude after they re-join civilian life.

“It’s not like that,” said Acosta. “I think having [civilians] take that step to get involved with us or vice versa would help to fill the gap and work together.” Acosta went on to highlight some of their activities which range from hiking to doing charity work for shelters and non-profits.

However, not all of the SMC clubs are as large as the ones mentioned. The Plastic-Free SMC club is trying to expand itself and has had some success. “We raise awareness about plastic consumption on campus. We teach students about why it’s bad for the environment to use plastic,” says club president Noelle B. Miller.

Miller sees the recent California plastic bag ban as a stepping-stone that will “light a bulb in a lot of peoples’ minds that the environment has problems and the choices we make everyday affect it.” According to her, Plastic Free SMC believes that all plastic bags should be banned, and not just single-use plastic shopping bags, and she thinks it unfortunate that more people are not aware of their impact on the environment.

According to some students, the club sign up day was effective. “A friend referred me to the Pan-African student union. I look forward to learning about different cultures and meeting new people,” says Political Science major, Kenneth Wheeler.

“It looks like today was a success. I think it’s beneficial to be a part of a club, because you get volunteer opportunities and it looks good on your transcripts,” says African American studies major, Lefifia Lewis.

ICC Vice Chair Courtney King, who spearheaded the event along with ICC Communications Officer Rizwan Rashid, said “The participation was delightfully bountiful and it was a great precursor to Club Row.” Club Row will take place at the same time and the same place as Club Awareness on the day before Halloween. The theme of the event will of course be designed to fit the season.