Basement Medicine

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There’s a club for that

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There’s a club for that

Jess Malskis, Haley Frechette and Katie Czermerys of the SGA

Jess Malskis, Haley Frechette and Katie Czermerys of the SGA

Rebecca Flieder

Jess Malskis, Haley Frechette and Katie Czermerys of the SGA

Rebecca Flieder

Rebecca Flieder

Jess Malskis, Haley Frechette and Katie Czermerys of the SGA

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Looking for something interesting to pursue in your downtime? Want to spend time with other Johnson students doing the same? Join a club! “People finding their people, and doing the things that they like to do,” says Krista Swahn, director of Student Activities and Community Service at NVU-J, “that’s what we like to see.”

Every year clubs have to be re-recognized by the Student Government Association (SGA). Re-recognition involves the new leadership of a club, usually the president, submitting the proper paperwork to Swahn and the SGA. A list of new leaders, a list of members, a mission statement, the club constitution, and projected expenses are all part of this step of the process.

SGA has a set of bulletin boards across campus that it maintains which will have a list of the recognized clubs and other important information. These bulletin boards are still outdated, but will be updated soon. The two boards most accessible to students are in Stearns, in the lobby by the lounge, and downstairs next to Stearns Performance Space. There is also a bulletin board in the College Apartments.

Currently, the number of clubs that is expected to be re-recognized is 16. These clubs include Writer’s Club, the Writers Club, Women’s Rugby, NVUnity, NVU Johnson Shred club, Green Solutions, NVU Johnson Dance club, Table Top Club, Realms (LARP) club, Humans Vs. Zombies, Garden Club and Men’s Rugby. For more information on these clubs, visit the SGA website at johnsonsga.wordpress.com.

If you have an idea for a club, it’s simple to start. Make sure your club doesn’t already exist by either attending the club fair or checking one of SGA’s bulletin boards. “If we know of people who want to start clubs,” says Swahn, “we invite them to take part in the club fair.” The list of clubs will also be available on the SGA website, johnsonsga.wordpress.com. Though the fall club fair has already happened, there may be a spring semester fair to re-showcase the clubs.

“If it happens that we find out that someone wants to start a club after the club fair,” says Swahn, “we will work with them to find a space to have a meeting and help them with advertising so that they can get like-minded people together.”

SGA’s access to printing and marketing services means that students who want to get a group together can advertise across campus with banners and signs. Make sure to send Swahn an email.

Letting SGA know about an idea can make it easier to find new members, even if a club has already used the banner making materials in the SGA office. “We can help that one person that wants that one club to find friends who have the same interest,” says Swahn.

Every club follows the same general set of rules upheld by the Johnson SGA Club Handbook, which can be found on the SGA website: johnsonsga.wordpress.com. There students will find all the information needed to start a club, including the club handbook, which has all the rules and regulations clubs need to follow; various request forms including ones for club recognition and trip, fundraiser, monetary, and space requests.

Upon club recognition, which is achieved by filling out the club recognition form and obtaining a signature page from the SGA office across the bridge on Stearns 4th floor, clubs can start using all the resources available to them. Clubs can meet before official recognition, but will not have access to vehicles or printing materials. The CR form asks for the names of leadership, the advisor, a mission statement, the constitution, a list of members, and projected expenses for the year.

If the club was previously recognized, a summary of past years and inventory is required. Clubs are required to be at some admissions events and participate in 20 hours of public service, but the rest is up to them.

Once a club wants to start fundraising, club leaders need to email Swahn and let the SGA know for two reasons: conflict and matching. When two clubs accidentally try to schedule the same fundraiser at the same time, Swahn will help them reschedule so as to not step on each other’s toes. In addition, once funds are deposited, SGA will match dollar for dollar up to $600 a year. This fund-matching comes directly from the on-campus activity fee that all students pay. The only fundraiser with specific rules is a bake sale, but Swahn can help a club understand all the extra steps with food preparation.

Swahn also emphasizes that students can create any kind of club they wish. “As long as they’ve given us everything that we needed and they’re going to operate by the rules of the college, the student handbook, and federal and state law,” says Swahn, “then there’s no reason for us not to recognize them.”

The craziest kinds of clubs SGA has ever seen? “There have been some amusing ones,” says Swahn. “One year, there was a group that wanted to do brewing, and so we just needed to make sure they had rules in place to make sure that there wasn’t any underage drinking.”

About 10 years ago, a club endearingly known as the 420 club was established at Johnson for the purpose of educating the staff, faculty, students, and the public about changing marijuana laws in Vermont. Though the name suggests otherwise, the group focused on decriminalization rather than use.

Swahn also mentioned that she would bring back the knitting club on campus given the chance, but that one of the most memorable clubs was Pizza Club. “They would go to different pizza places,” says Swahn, “and then they would write articles for Basement Medicine to rank the pizza. They were the same group of people who also did the Film Club, so they would watch movies as a group, and then they would write articles for Basement Medicine about the movies they’d watched.”

SGA is currently looking for senators, so if you’re interested in joining Swahn and her team to work with clubs and advocate for students, head to johnsonsga.wordpress.com and apply under Forms & Resources > SGA position application.

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