Club Row Takes the Quad by Storm

Video by: Daniel Bowyer

More than 60 Santa Monica College clubs gathered on campus Thursday for SMC’s “Club Row” sponsored by the Inter-Club Council. Group members and faculty advisors stood at two long rows of wooden tables that stretched in an unbroken line from the library to just past the campus fountain on a sunny October day to greet crowds of interested students.

Close to the Letters and Science building and across from the SMC Cheer Club hungry people lined up to score one of about 300 “In N Out” burgers available at the Alpha Gamma Sigma Honor Society table. The restaurant’s iconic “Double-Double” and a bottle of water were being sold for seven dollars each. Proceeds from brisk sales were dedicated to the clubs five student scholarships which will be awarded next April.

“It’s a great way to socialize around campus,” said Carlos Ortega, a Civil Engineering major. “Ever since I joined, I see people every day that say hi to me,” said Ortega. “It’s a great way to connect and network around campus,” he said.

Studies show that many college students suffer from feelings of isolation and loneliness. But at this event the air was electric with the energy of camaraderie and future possibilities.

Jourdan Giron, an animal science major and member of the Natural History Club, introduces Francesca Pizzorno, a business major, to "Geronimo" a king snake from the Biology department during the Club Row celebration at Santa Monica College in Santa Monica, California on Thursday, October 27, 2016. Giron said that, "A lot people think snakes are slimy when they are actually not. They're very smooth. Actually really soft when you hold them and you get to feel its underbelly crawling on you because they don't have feet so they all pretty much just use muscle. They use muscles to constrict and move around." (Jose Lopez)
Jourdan Giron, an animal science major and member of the Natural History Club, introduces Francesca Pizzorno, a business major, to "Geronimo" a king snake from the Biology department during the Club Row celebration at Santa Monica College in Santa Monica, California on Thursday, October 27, 2016. Giron said that, "A lot people think snakes are slimy when they are actually not. They're very smooth. Actually really soft when you hold them and you get to feel its underbelly crawling on you because they don't have feet so they all pretty much just use muscle. They use muscles to constrict and move around." (Jose Lopez)

Photo by: Jose Lopez

A wave of students swirled past the Psych Club table. A mini-basketball hoop had been erected there. A guy wearing a plaid shirt and khakis comically leaned backward, raised his arm and flicked his wrist to propel a tiny basketball into the air. It floated into a crooked arc toward the hoop high above the heads of people hurrying past.

Several feet away scientists wearing white lab coats, goggles and gloves were surrounded by a constant swirl of activity. One held a long tube full of brightly colored substances and gently waved and turned it like a mysterious wand of wonder. “We just have a lot of fun with chemistry,” said Samantha Purucker, president of the SMC Chemistry Club. The Chem Club, which is active in community outreach and professional development, will receive an award next Spring at the American Chemical Society’s National Meeting in San Francisco for their community outreach program.

One of their outreach demonstrations was on their "Club Row" table. A box of breakfast cereal and a tall, quart container three-quarters full of caramel-brown liquid sat near a corner. A club member wearing a white lab-coat moved a small, dark object in long swipes up its exterior from bottom to top. “We have this Total cereal, and we mix it with water — we have very strong magnets— and we can actually extract the iron from the cereal,” Purucker explained.

Denisse Martinez, a nutritional science major, promotes the Bycicle Club along side an E.T. prop during the Club Row celebration at Santa Monica College in Santa Monica, Calif. on Thursday, October 27, 2016. (Marisa Vasquez)
Denisse Martinez, a nutritional science major, promotes the Bycicle Club along side an E.T. prop during the Club Row celebration at Santa Monica College in Santa Monica, Calif. on Thursday, October 27, 2016. (Marisa Vasquez)

Photo by: Marisa Vazquez

Steps away, a sherbet-green Chevy Bel-Air convertible sat in the sun like some sort of beautiful automotive time-capsule. Its owner, Arturo Arce of the Oeste Barber Shop on Main Street stood pleasantly nearby, talking and observing the fun. Arce said he was there to support the students of the Homeboys and Homegirls Club. “They’re here doing the right thing,” said Arce.

Farther down the row near the Phi Theta Kappa honor society, the club’s signature question and group response rang out for all to hear. “PTK, how do you feel? We feel good! Awesome good!” responded their energized, smiling members.

Directly across from PTK, the new Interior Design Club was on the row. This club teaches design skills, including 2D and 3D modeling, and membership is open to all. “We seek people from any major. Any student at SMC can come in,” said Yusuf Suhandi, an Interior Architecture student. Club member Richard Willis says of the profession “It’s not just putting nice furniture in places. It’s about making the space really perfect for the people who inhabit it.”

A few steps south, members of the newly formed SMC Improv Club were enjoying their first real day of being out as a group on campus. One member described what they’re about. “We learn to interact with people in an improvised way. It helps you get out of your shell,” said Shaindi Schwebel, a Sociology student at SMC.

The club was created out of necessity confides its founder. “There wasn’t an improv club and I was like, ‘I have to start one!,” said Matthew Billena, an Art major at SMC. “I’ve been doing improv for about five years now, and I’m just like madly in love with it —- and I can’t stop. So, I decided to continue it here,” said Billena.

With two pages of new membership names scribbled on a big sign-up sheet in front of him, Billena was excited about the future of the just-formed club. “Our first meeting is next Tuesday,” he said.

Ozro Hepworth (left) member of Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) holds up a poster that says “Have you seen this wizard?” referring to the Harry Potter novels, while posing for a photo with another member during the Comic-Con Halloween themed Club Row on Thursday, October 27, 2016 on Santa Monica College in Santa Monica, Calif. PTK is a honor society club on campus which is about creating community on campus. (Rosangelica Vizcarra)
Ozro Hepworth (left) member of Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) holds up a poster that says “Have you seen this wizard?” referring to the Harry Potter novels, while posing for a photo with another member during the Comic-Con Halloween themed Club Row on Thursday, October 27, 2016 on Santa Monica College in Santa Monica, Calif. PTK is a honor society club on campus which is about creating community on campus. (Rosangelica Vizcarra)

Photo by: Rosangelica Vizcarra