Astronomy Club wins out of this world Club Row

There’s one special day a year where you might have your face and attention buried in your phone while you type a text, and then out of the corner of your eye, you spot an astronaut strolling by. You might start questioning your sanity when you then see Chewbacca making a cup of boba, but when you see Buzz Lightyear and a giant minion selling donuts, you realize that there’s a reason for all of this nonsense.

This past Thursday, the SMC quad turned into the cacophony of activity that is Club Row. As the club members rushed around carrying canopies and decorations for their booths, most of the clubs had a creative way of meeting Inter-Club Council’s (ICC) “intergalactic” theme.

Orlando Gonzalez Gudino-Guizar, the ICC vice chairman who was responsible for organizing the event along with the rest of Associated Students (AS) and ICC, had managed to put on this year's large Club Row while also saving a large amount of money.

"It's my first Club Row, and I got into the job in the middle of the term which was a little intimidating because I didn't know what was going on," Gudino-Guizar said. "Our budget was $8,500 which we [calculated] based on the cost of the last two Club Rows, and this year we've only spent $4,500. I tried to spend as much money as needed on the things that matter."

Angelique Hudec, who managed the Astronomy Club’s booth, said, “Since we’re the Astronomy Club, we figured intergalactic was really our theme. We actually have a spaceman and made a flag and everything." While the only person dressed in fitting attire seemed to be their spaceman, their booth was decorated with stars and a galactic background.

“I feel like actually that there’s more pressure — like we’re expected to do better. We have high expectations,” said Karen Deleon when asked about Astronomy Club having the advantage of the intergalactic theme this year.

Next to the Astronomy booth, the Alpha Gamma Sigma Club Honor Society had a long line of hungry students waiting to buy the burgers from In-N-Out they had for sale. Their booth was strung with star streamers and metallic trim to fit their adaptation of the intergalactic theme which they called “Interstellar Superstars.”

“We tried to not spend too much money on decorations and make the most out of the In-N-Out we sell so we decided to go to the Rediscover Center in Culver City, which is a place for kids to make projects out of recycled material. So all of our decorations are from there and made out of post-consumer materials,” said Kamila Gonzalez, the booth manager for the AGS Club. “We have around 200 members and we’re one of the largest clubs on campus.”

Down the row from the AGS Club, the Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Club, a rival honor society and the largest honor society on campus, had gone with a Star Wars theme and had Chewbacca and a Jedi giving out information and filling up the “Jabba” boba cups.

“We had a lot of members come to help today with the booth and to sell boba. We hope that our decorations are exciting and we can stand out from AGS,” Stephanie Ng said, one of the booth managers for the PTK Club.

The International Students Forum Club went eclectic with their theme and decorated their booth with tiny flags of all the nations they represent and a jet black background to represent deep space. Club President Sean Tsai created a cardboard rendition of Buzz Lightyear’s jet-pack and chest piece while club member Omar Bishar adopted his idea of the “giant minion” with a cardboard chest piece advertising donuts.

“For international students when they first come, it’s really hard to make friends, especially in class which is one of the only times you’ll interact with those kinds of people. It’s hard to get off campus and just hang out with each other. Ever since I joined this club, I’ve made so many friends and actually hang out with people,” said Tsai. “We have over 100 members and every semester we add more. Our club has actually been around for 20 years."

After enjoying a singer from the opera club, SMC President Dr. Kathryn Jeffery spoke highly of Club Row. She said, "This gives me a chance to see the types of clubs we have here at the college — to see the level of interest there is among our students in club activity. It kind of helps me see the level of energy here at the college. So I'm looking forward to walking through and talking with people at their various booths, and just learning more."

Down the quad, where the smaller booths were set up and the powerful sound of the DJ playing Top 40 songs blared, the newly created Photography Club had their impromptu booth set up with cameras from different eras. They had forgone the intergalactic theme in an effort to get the exposure for their new club which was created earlier this semester.

“Club Row is better than putting flyers everywhere to get exposure and gain members, that’s for sure,” said Erick Meraz, a member of the Photography Club.

The German Club stuck out with their traditional lederhosen as costumes, and decorated their booth with flags and fliers advertising the club.

“German Club is important because it brings out the importance of learning German and the cultural aspects of it. It’s especially important if you’re going into business,” said Jesse Tobar, a booth manager for the German Club dressed head-to-toe in lederhosen.

As things winded down, students wandered off to their classes, and clubs began to take their booths down. The ICC judges convened and gave the first place prize of $150 to the Astronomy Club. The money is deposited into the club’s allotment account from the AS and the club has the freedom to use it in whatever way they choose. The second place prize of $100 went to the AGS Club and the third place prize of $50 went to the Adelante Club. Honorable mention prizes of $40 went to 12 other clubs that participated in the event’s activities.