They had us at ‘hello’

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Let’s just say it up front—this place is all sorts of serious about education, the life-changing kind that happens in classrooms, labs, and studios. But when the paper isn’t due for a week and there’s no test tomorrow, there is fun to be had, right? There are games to be played and songs to be sung. There’s volunteering, or mountaineering, or whatever else rows your boat—like maybe rowing a boat.

That’s what Thursday afternoon was all about. Involvement Fair is a big, fat, fun day on the A-Quad, with students—throngs of them—checking out long stretches of quirky and colorful display tables, all set up by clubs and organizations.

Part of the fun is the random feel of it. Serious-minded groups are lined up next to laugh-seekers, and many students sign up for both. Music blasts in the background. Balloons sway in the hot sun, and there’s food. (There’s always food.)

There are too many clubs to name, everything from Adytum to Zumba. Students here gather up for sports, hobbies, philanthropy, politics, Greek life, media, music, dance, games, you name it. And every year, there are a few new clubs started by students, so we decided to check out a few that haven’t been around very long.

Charlie Severson ’14 (left) helped to found Denison Students Helping Students.

Take Denison Students Helping Students, for example. Founded this year by sophomores Charlie Severson, Andrew Uhlman and Evan Hunter, their goal is building community, and they’re starting with hello.

“We’re trying to bring students together to break down barriers,” says Severson, a Granville native, so DSHS will work on bringing back something the college has long been famous for: “the Denison hello.”

“You walk by someone on campus, and you just say ‘hi,’ ” says Severson. “It was really popular here in the ’80s.” But texting-while-walking and general hurriedness have eaten away at the hello, so DSHS sees this initiative as a small start on the path to creating a stronger feeling of community.

Abby Current ’14 of Leesburg, Ohio, has another kind of community in mind: The Writing Club.  She says that writing a book, especially under a deadline, is exhilarating, but it also can make you feel isolated and stressed. “This is a support group for people to feel crazy all in one room, to get together and write. We can hold readings. We can help each other,” she says.

A few of Sigma Lambda Gamma’s founding members at the Fair.

Sigma Lambda Gamma is a new multicultural sorority on campus. “We have 10 members, and we’re seeing lots of interest,” says Natalie Aguilar ’13 of Round Lake, Ill.  “Our philanthropy goals are breast cancer awareness and also helping underrepresented students in higher education.”

Students of Caribbean Ancestry (SOCA) celebrates the history and culture of the Afro-Caribbean Islands. “The word ‘Soca’ is a style of music and dance,” says Wiselene Dorceus ’13 of Lynn, Mass. “We have a lot of interest from students who do not have Caribbean ancestry, but they want to learn more about the culture.”

So maybe you sing in the shower but dream of taking the stage. Or maybe rugby’s your thing. Or reading to kids. Whatever it is, you don’t need an app for that–we’ve got a club.

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