Sunday, September 25, 2022

New, old clubs expand campus culture

By Sydney Hakes

While higher education is a place for fine tuning one’s skills and defining career goals, campus life plays an important role in any college experience. A large component of campus life is involvement in clubs and organizations. From cultural clubs to academic clubs and recreational clubs, SUNY Plattsburgh has a variety of involvement options.

The SUNY Plattsburgh website currently lists 42 active Student Association clubs. The SA provides funding and is the first step in getting a club started on campus. While there are groups and organizations that function independently of the SA, most usually reach out to the SA for support.

Bailey Dell’Erba, the coordinator of clubs and organizations, oversees all clubs along with the club directory and club training. The directory is updated every semester, and clubs will need to fill out an updated Google form by Friday, May 13. The form can be found in the student digest email, or by reaching out to Dell’Erba.

Club training consists of information sessions where topics like hazing, title nine, leadership and forum information are covered.

COVID-19 took a toll on club culture the same way it did on campus life in general. Before 2020, the number of clubs on campus was closer to 100. Fortunately, Dell’Erba said that she is seeing a big increase from past semesters in clubs looking to become official. In fall 2021 no new clubs reached out to the SA. In the current spring semester, there have already been seven different groups interested in becoming recognized clubs.

The process of becoming a recognized and SA-supported club starts with paperwork. Interested parties can find forms outside of the SA office on the first floor of the Angell College Center.

A president, vice president, secretary, treasurer and advisor will need to be named. A constitution about the proposed club will also need to be written. From there, the idea will either be approved or not by the SA, where they will then send it to the senate to eventually be made permanent and can start receiving funding. 

While the number of clubs may be lower than in past years, Dell’Erba said that they’ve maintained high diversity. 

“There is a cultural diversity with clubs like Black Onyx, African Unity and Fuerza,” Dell’Erba said. “Then there’s also a diversity of interests — dance, business, gardening and literature are just a few topics that we have clubs for.”

Dell’Erba mentioned that the most active clubs on campus are usually the cultural clubs. Not focusing on similar interests like other clubs, cultural clubs focus on similar backgrounds, lives and challenges. For a small, predominantly white town, these clubs give a voice and community to those who may struggle to find it on their own.

The SA is always looking for new and unique clubs to support. They also want to motivate existing clubs to continue driving up membership through tabling and events. 

“Besides something to fill your time and express your passions, I think the greatest benefit a club can provide is the potential to make friends,” Dell’Erba said. “I have met some of my best friends through different organizations I’m a part of, and I hear that a lot from so many other people. In college, that’s so important.”

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