By Cailean McLeod
Students who attended the Welcome Back Fair on Jan. 13th may have felt better about coming back. If not, then joining a club may help.
“Historically the Welcome Back Fair and the Club Fair were a single event, now we have them split up so that we can make both events bigger and better,” said Jarrett Martin, Whatcom Community College’s director of clubs.
Martin explained that the Club Fair, which was held Jan. 20, was an event to help clubs at Whatcom gain attention from both new and current students to the different types of clubs offered at Whatcom.
“[Students] will be able to talk with club representatives, learn how to create a club and learn about all the things student life does” he said.
“[Clubs] help students feel connected, which helps student desire to continue education,” Martin said, adding that club leaders gain management skills and networking opportunities.
Meanwhile, Student Life had already held the Welcome Back Fair in the Syre Auditorium the week before to help students ease into the second quarter.
Alva Putra, a project coordinator for the Programming and Diversity Board, said the Welcome Back Fair was designed to welcome students back to the campus and to make them feel at home.
The purpose of the Welcome Back Fair said Keion Mceachirn, another project coordinator in charge of catering the event, was “to help students relieve stress on classes that are very stressful.”
To help with that, Putra said they planned two activities: making snow globes and decorating cookies. Students could have cookies, coffee, and hot cider in one part of the auditorium, and in another area, students could make snow globes out of miniature jars to alleviate stress, Mceachirn said.
Martin said that all of the clubs at Whatcom have room for more students, as well as the already established ones.
Martin said that the newer clubs at Whatcom are the Game Development Club, the Programming Club, and the Anthropology club.
Students who attended the Welcome Back Fair said they enjoyed the event.
“It’s a great idea because it involves the students to come together as a community,” said Whatcom student Melissa Lopez, 33.
The newer clubs at Whatcom have their own way of encouraging curiosity and learning for this quarter and beyond.
Nathan Hall, the Game Devs Club advisor and full-time math teacher at Whatcom, paints a picture of the club’s members.
“[The Game Devs Club] is a group of students who share an interest in gaming and the development of video games and who are, together, learning what the steps to creating a game from scratch are,” he said.
Dennis Taylor, Game Devs Club president, says, “What’s nice is that you don’t actually have to know anything about the game engine we use [Unity 3D], or even coding.” Taylor added that all a student has to do is pick a role in game development, then go from there.
“We are working on a game: a top-down dungeon crawler role-playing game,” Taylor explains, adding that the game’s art style is inspired by the 1986 Nintendo game “The Legend of Zelda” video game.
“We pretty much have the base mechanics and the foundation of what the game is going to feel like,” said Taylor.
Whatcom’s Anthropology Club is the other club that just got its hold of its reins. Club advisor and anthropology teacher Jennifer Zovar said she delights in her club members’ ability to pursue their curiosity in anthropology.
“Student response was fantastic and very positive, I am impressed by the dedication of the students and inspired by their interest in our activities and discussions,” Zovar said.
The Anthropology Club, Zovar said, was created to be a very involved and hands-on experience. Members often go on group trips related to anthropology, such as one time when the club went to the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle to study primates, she said.
Anthropology Club president, Daniel Hargrave, said that his club is planning a tour of the Burke Museum at the University of Washington, and also plans to attend this year’s Northwest Anthropological Conference in Tacoma, March 24-26.
Dorothy Childsweber, president of Whatcom’s more established Literature Club, says her club’s activities revolve around reading books such as Gerorge Orwell’s “1984” and “The Screwtape Letters” by C. S. Lewis, and then talk about them.
Lastly, about another recent club, Jacob Henryzender, president of the Anime Club, says that his club watches and discusses anime.
“What I want more than anything is a place where people can come and just talk about their favorite shows,” Henryzender says.