Clubs offer relief from academic overload

As the new school year begins, countless doors of opportunity swing open. St. Olaf’s many clubs offer a fantastic way to make fast friends and delve into interests and passions. This summary highlights just a few of the options.

If you’re dreading the classic freshman fifteen, don’t worry; there are plenty of clubs dedicated to physical activity. Take advantage of the opportunity to try a new sport with the triathlon, rowing or rugby clubs. Also consider the countless intramural sports, ranging from basketball to broomball to inner tube water polo.

Students searching for a more unconventional sport, look no further. Harry Potter fans will be delighted to discover St. Olaf’s very own Quidditch Association SOQA. Every Sunday at 1 p.m., students on brooms transform the lawn in front of Mellby Hall.

“SOQA is the best place on campus to find your die-hard Harry Potter fans as pure-bloods, muggles and squibs alike enjoy a rousing game of Quidditch,” said Casey Bouldin ’15, one of the club’s three co-captains. “It’s low-commitment and a nice break from the Sunday homework grind.” During the winter months, SOQA helps plan Harry Potter-themed activities, including an extravagant meal in Stav Hall.

Oles seeking to combine movement and music need only to open their ears as the Taiko Drumming Group convenes for practice in the Lion’s Den from 2:45 to 5:00 p.m. on Fridays. The club is student-led but attends annual workshops with professionals from Minneapolis. The Taiko ensemble asks that interested students join the club during the beginning of first semester to allow time to develop drumming skills and technique.

If students would rather dance to the rhythm of their own drums, they should check out St. Olaf’s Swing Club. The floors of Dittmann Studio 1 start shaking each Tuesday night from 9 to 11 p.m. The first hour is a structured lesson, and the dance floor opens up for social dancing during the second hour. No partner? No problem! The dancers rotate partners during the lessons.

GLOW Gay, Lesbian or Whatever! is not only a club but also a welcoming community. Their mission is to “educate, provide resources for and foster acceptance and support for self-identified GLBT persons with and through the alliance of people of all sexual orientations and gender identities.” Members hope to create a safe environment for all through open discussion, educational activities and social events. GLOW meets on Wednesdays at 8 p.m.

An exciting way to begin thinking about careers is to join one of St. Olaf’s many pre-professional clubs. Students with an interest in veterinary work might consider the Pre-Vet Club. “Applying to veterinary school is a lot of work, and in the club we offer support and information regarding the application process, classes to take, animal-related jobs and veterinarians to shadow,” said Marie Bak ’14, founder of the club. This American Pre-Veterinary Medical Association-accredited club offers the opportunity to travel off-campus to the University of Minnesota, local zoos and the spring National Pre-Veterinary Symposium.

And, of course, the Manitou Messenger is always looking for writers to capture campus happenings. Meetings are held Sundays at 7:30 p.m. in Buntrock 110. Anyone and everyone is encouraged to write – no application necessary!