The Newest Social Trends On Campus
The Newest Social Trends On Campus
The adage about “the more things change the more they stay the same” was never more true than on college campuses. No we’re not talking about bell bottoms and student protests — although both are certainly still in vogue! The real campus flashbacks are taking their form in the interesting social activities and clubs that are essentially updated versions harking back to our parents’ (and grandparents’) college days. Just check out these retro fads:
1. Swing Clubs
Describing themselves as “the hippest cats around Gustavus Adolphus College’s Swing Club members are serious about having fun. In addition to having its own constitution, the club holds weekly leadership meetings to plan dances, set up trips, discuss business and lessons, learn new moves and improve on old ones. We allow anyone and everyone to join students and non-students alike explains Steve Howard, the group’s Web designer and a swing teacher. This helps to not only broaden our knowledge of dancing but it is also a way that we can get in touch with the community.” The club has been around for 15 years and its membership is continuing to soar. “Our club is a great place to hang out with people and have a good time dancing,” says Anna Lindquist, who does the group’s PR. “It’s something that everyone has in common and that brings everyone together.”
2. Euchre Clubs
If you’ve never heard of euchre you’re not alone. The word itself means “to outwit or defeat someone through scheming and the card game takes its name from the definition. Today, the trick-taking game is most common in the Midwest, Pennsylvania and upstate New York — areas with significant German-American populations. The University of Michigan has a euchre league with regular tournaments, as well as the Euchre Society, which is self-described as much more exclusive than the Euchre League.” At the University of Minnesota the Euchre Club is growing quickly. “Euchre is a very fun card game that offers a friendly and social atmosphere says Nicole Heppelmann, co-president of the University of Minnesota’s Euchre Club. After playing and enjoying the game so much with many friends we decided to start the Euchre Club to offer a wonderful break from the stressful college life to everyone.” Heppelmann’s co-president Alex Wagner is glad others are catching on to the fun of the game. “Since beginning the club there have been a lot of people attending the weekly meetings and the numbers keep rising!”
OTHER SCHOOLS THAT PLAY WHAT’S DEALT TO THEM: Grand Valley State University; Boston University; Kent State University; Michigan State University
3. Intramural Broomball
Think of it as hockey without the skates. Broomball is a HUGE intramural college sport right now for both men and women. In fact at Boston University it’s the most popular intramural sport of all with 110 teams competing per season. Broomball first became popular in the United States in the 1960s especially in cold places like Minnesota and now Miami University in Ohio can boast that they were the first ever (2006) USA Broomball Women’s National Champions.
“Our intramural broomball is very popular for two reasons,” explains Kevin Ackley, Event/Program Manager at Miami University. “One everyone is equal because of the ice. No matter how athletic or unathletic you are when you’re on ice with no skates everyone is equal. The second reason it is so popular is the amount of time you get to spend with your friends for a low cost. On average a broomball team plays eight games plus playoffs for only $150. If you have 15 people on your team that is only $10 per person a very low price to spend time playing a great game with your friends.”
OTHER SCHOOLS THAT TRY TO SWEEP THE COMPETITION: University of Chicago; Ithaca College; Colorado College; Carleton College; Marlboro College; Northwestern
4. Inner Tube Water Polo
Not a strong swimmer but want to try water polo? Several schools have come up with this alternative. According to Wikipedia this less strenuous version of water polo was invented in 1969 by Gary Colberg a former University of California Davis associate athletic director of intramural sports and sport clubs. Noticing how much fun the water polo team was having Colberg thought up the idea of using tubes so that people with no experience in water polo could still enjoy the game.
SCHOOLS THAT FLOAT ON AIR: Georgia Southwestern State University; University of Vermont; University of Texas at Austin; Mississippi State University; Cornell
5. Intramural Walleyball
Started in 1979 this sport is like volleyball except that players can bounce the ball off the side walls. It proved to be especially popular in the Midwestern states where cold weather drives students inside in winter. Intramural versions of the sport have attracted so much attention that many schools like Southwest Baptist University and Shepherd University have added walleyball to their course.
OTHER SCHOOLS THAT ARE BOUNCING OFF THE WALLS: East Central University; Rensselaer Weber State University; Indiana Wesleyan University; Cedarville University; Ohio State University
6. Knitting Clubs
Yep. You read it right. Stressed-out students are calming their nerves one pearl at a time at colleges across the country. At College of the Holy Cross one student sent out feelers to see if she’d find a few others interested in the hobby. She got 70 responses! The Knitting Club at Saint Michael’s College in Vermont is using its skills for more than relaxation. Forty students faculty and staff joined forces to knit 121 items for premature babies and others in need. Items included hats blankets mittens scarves and even chemo caps.
OTHER SCHOOLS THAT NEEDLE AWAY: Hope College; Colby College; Concordia College; Bryn Mawr Wellesley
7. Poker Tournaments (for scholarships/cash)
You might have already heard that poker is uber-popular with college kids right now but you can make some cool cash off this hot fad. Although typically no “gambling” is allowed students can win prizes — like scholarship dollars gift certificates or donations to their favorite charity. Just remind yourself that the tournaments are for entertainment. If you win a prize or two great. If not just have fun!
SCHOOLS THAT HAVE PARTICIPATED: Pennsylvania State University; Purdue University; University of Florida; Florida State University; University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; University of Illinois, Urbana; University of Minnesota Twin Cities.
Of course not everything on campus is retro. A few clubs and activities are taking their cues from modern-day issues like global warming and the war in Iraq including:
8. Recycling Clubs
Yes, students were recycling before Al Gore’s documentary “An Inconvenient Truth” but it’s no coincidence that eco-conscious clubs are increasing in numbers across American campuses. At Oregon State University (OSU), students went so far as to dig through trash cans to find paper that had only been printed on one side. The paper was then put in binders and given to students for taking notes in class. OSU is one of 93 schools that participates in RecycleMania, a 10-week contest in which colleges and universities compete in recycling contests. (www.recyclemaniacs.org) College students are involved with recycling for a variety of reasons explains Mary Jensen, Coordinator of Campus Sustainability and Recycling Programs at Keene State College. Many of them have had recycling programs available to them throughout their school years and continue to recycle whenever they can. In addition it’s an easy and tangible way to do a good thing. Many students are making the connection between global climate change and their actions. Recycling reduction and reuse are all ways they know they can make a difference. We are also noting an increase in participation in the RecycleMania contest which is putting recycling in the forefront on many college and university campuses.
OTHER SCHOOLS THAT TRASH TALK: Mills College; Lynchburg College; Skidmore College; Bridgewater State College; Chester College; Alvernia College; Rice University
9. Veterans Clubs
Designed to provide practical and social support to students who have been or are in the military veterans clubs are popping up in droves across the United States. The clubs serve several purposes including: helping veterans adjust to college life promoting community service raising awareness for veterans’ issues establishing professional (career) networks and social support.
SOME SCHOOLS THAT SALUTE THE TROOPS: Cornell University; Indiana University; Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Harvard University of Chicago; University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Wendy Burt is the Editor of My College Guide.