Butler clubs cater to a wide range of passions and interests. Photo by Paige Horsley.
TYLER ELLIS | STAFF REPORTER | firstname.lastname@example.org
Butler recognizes almost 200 student organizations, each with their own unique vision and goal. The prospect of creating a new campus organization is enticing, but plenty of networking, organization, legislative efforts and teamwork is necessary to get an organization off the ground. Butler’s Student Government Association provides a guide for prospective student organizations as they start their journey to become endorsed by the university, but reaching the student body for call-out meetings and interest checks requires dedication.
Many established organizations on campus have had difficulties resuming normal operations after restrictions due to COVID-19, and have similar goals to brand new clubs including increasing membership, maintaining attendance and building executive boards. Through this hard work, students are able to create new and interesting organizations to enrich campus life and students’ social well-being. These three clubs have shown they have what it takes to establish a presence on Butler’s campus.
First-year health sciences major Lucas Raker is a founder of Butler’s Taekwondo club which was chartered in March. The club, which meets in the Health and Recreation Complex wet room on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, invites students of any skill level to practice Taekwondo. Many college students leave their dojang behind when they move, and Taekwondo club aims to reconnect students with mental discipline, fitness and self defense.
Raker said that he first hosted a call-out meeting to gauge student interest, and proceeded to form an executive board following the meeting. The next step was to complete administrative duties such as drafting a constitution and creating a budget.
Unique challenges of the Taekwondo club included securing a space in the HRC to hold practices as well as appointing a safety officer to their executive board.
“If you’re starting a club at the HRC, definitely get connections, figure out who to talk to, and just be well informed in what you need to do to start that club up,” Raker said. “Make sure you have enough people to rally behind you in order to get that momentum to start the club.”
Red Cross club
Allie Jansen, a junior speech, language and hearing sciences major, ran into some roadblocks while creating the Red Cross Club at Butler. The club is connected to the Indiana region of the American Red Cross, which serves the community through health classes and blood drives. The Red Cross also prioritizes aid for veterans and disaster relief.
“Everything had to coincide with the Red Cross and their policies, so it was kind of hard to mesh,” Jansen said. “It’s been a little bit difficult now with Butler’s partnership with Versiti Blood Center, so that has caused some roadblocks. I’ve had to go to extra meetings and meet with the Office of External Affairs, and we’ve had some challenges getting stuff approved because of that partnership.”
Jansen hosted two blood drives on campus prior to her club being approved in March. She has struggled to schedule additional drives because of conflicts with Versiti’s blood donation competition between Butler and Marquette. She hopes to expand the Red Cross club by working with the HRC to host on-campus CPR and first aid classes, as well as advocate for the Red Cross’ initiative to support veterans within the community.
“When all of these challenges came up, I needed to remind myself that what I’m doing is important in the broader scheme of things, and that has kept me motivated because I know the impact I can make,” Jansen said. “Hopefully we can find a way to coexist with Versiti and have more blood drives on campus.”
Anthony Maiorella, a junior math and finance double major, directs Butler’s rock climbing club which was founded in 2017. Rock climbing can be an expensive and intimidating sport, and Maiorella said that he understands newcomers can find it difficult to know where and how to begin climbing. Butler’s climbing club wants to make the sport more accessible to students of different skill levels by creating a community for both new and seasoned climbers, encouraging members to climb competitively both indoors and outdoors.
“It’s just an incredibly fun activity, [it’s] really relaxing and great for your mental health,” Maiorella said. “It’s a really under-appreciated sport.”
During the COVID-19 pandemic, university clubs struggled to hold in-person meetings and events. For organizations such as climbing club, Maiorella said that attendance struggled due to lockdown restrictions on climbing gyms as well as strict sanitizing and social distancing rules. Maiorella has since been tasked with reviving the club as COVID-19 restrictions lessen, which so far has been overwhelmingly successful.
“We had about 60 sign-ups at Block Party, and I had a call out meeting that filled the room in Jordan Hall,” Maiorella said. “People were standing by the walls — there were more people than I ever imagined would come. We have probably 10 or 15 people that climb every week, which is beyond my wildest hopes and dreams. It’s so amazing.”
As many student organizations struggled to recover from the pandemic, students like Maiorella have been able to reflect on what helped their clubs to survive. Clubs with a successful foundation can help prospective groups understand what strategies will help them to ensure the longevity of their organizations.
Maiorella encourages any students with club ideas to see them through and make them a reality. Within that advice, he said it is important club leaders have a clear direction to guide their organizations through thick and thin. These ideals, he said, are what ultimately contributed to the revitalization and success of the Butler climbing club.
“As a club leader, just focus on your mission,” Maiorella said. “In our case, our mission was to lower those barriers of entry to make it as inclusive as possible, because that’s how we feel like the club is going to succeed best. I would advise any new person starting a club to get one goal in their head, and then build everything they do towards that common goal.”