With the snow and slush smothering Poughkeepsie these days, it is easy to feel like you’re in an activity rut. During the winter, without the birds chirping and the sun shining over an idyllic quad, we probably all agree that Vassar’s campus can get a little dull. What better way could there be to beat the winter blues than to join a fresh, revitalizing student org to expand your horizons?
With nearly 200 organizations from which to choose here at Vassar, there is bound to be something out there for you. Whether you want to create your very own ceramic bowl or spend the night dueling it out Dungeons & Dragons style, here are just five to get you started, in no particular order.
1. Looking for a way publish your art? Try joining Contrast, Vassar’s very own fashion magazine. In addition to publishing a new issue each semester, the “Contrast” team produces online social media and blog content. They also work to bring exciting speakers to campus, and even organize an annual fashion show. Editor-in-Chief Dana Chang ’19 commented on the rewarding nature of the org, saying, “My favorite part of ‘Contrast’ is the process of turning thoughts and ideas into a tangible piece of work as well as the visceral process of making it all happen.”
Because the org is divided into five separate committees, students can get involved in a variety of ways. Areas of involvement include the blog, editorial, layout, photography and style sections. Each facet of the org welcomes new members and any new ideas they may bring to the table. Chang continued, “The collaborative nature of making a magazine coupled with the creative energy involved are all parts of ‘Contrast’ that I cherish and very much the reason I encourage students to join one (or all!) of our committees!” Email contrast. firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested in getting updates from “Contrast.”
2. If games, comics and the like seem more like your thing, No Such Org may be right up your alley. By providing resources and support to students who run weekly, monthly, and annual events like Board Games Night and Magic: The Gathering Drafts, the NSO offers a great space to decompress after a long week of classes. What better way is there to stretch your creative muscles than assuming the persona of a dimenson-traveling wizard or role-playing as a bard?
NSO Secretary Max DuBois ’20 described the group’s unique origins: “We found a yearbook from 2004 with something called the ‘Non-Human Organization (NHO),’ which we suspect the NSO started off as before its name was changed.” He continued, “We think it was created to give nerd culture at Vassar a means of organizing into fun and intentional groups, but we can’t be sure that the NHO wasn’t just a club for intergalactic aliens and other non-human students.” Whether you’re human or not, NSO welcomes you to join in on their fun. To be added to the org’s weekly mailing list, send a message to email@example.com.
3. Want to break a sweat while listening to some cool jams? The Korean Dance Crew (KoDC) is for you. The group was formed about two years ago with the intention of fostering an open and supportive community for students with a passion for K-Pop and dance. Welcoming any and all skill levels, the KoDC offers the perfect opportunity for anyone wishing to gain performance experience in a safe and encouraging space. The org’s openness is further demonstrated by the fact that they do not require auditions for new members.
Dancer and choreographer Spencer McGrath ’21, remarked: “I’ve made some really great friends through the KoDC and also can still participate in dance without it being a huge commitment in my already chaotic schedule.” If you have been searching for an org to fill a few extra hours each week, KoDC could be a perfect fit. General body performances are held on Mondays from 7 to 8 p.m. in Kenyon Hall Studio One or Two, and non-performance meetings take place in the hour following performances.
4. For a more hands-on creative experience, why not make your own creation with the Vassar Ceramics Club? Now is an particularly salient moment to jump on board with this org. Speaking on behalf of the club, Vice President and Secretary Calvin Scannell ’21 said in an emailed statement, “We are super excited about the expanded offerings for our clubs as well as a brand new space which we can call our own…The new space is in the basement of Noyes…and includes a kiln and three throwing wheels as well as space for hand building.” In the studio, “We will be able to hold more frequent meetings with far superior materials and equipment,” Scannell emphasized. The space is open to all skill levels, and more experienced members are available to teach fundamental techniques.
Given these exciting new changes, the VCC plans to offer more frequent meetings to its members. While the org finishes its last touches on the new studio, there will be one final meeting on Saturday, Feb. 2 in the Main TV room in order to finish up the last of the synthetic polymer Sculpey clay. Students are encouraged to join and even take some of this old clay home. You might enjoy the sensory experience of making pottery, as well as the creativity involved.
5. Lastly, if the cold never bothered you anyway and you are looking to get outside more often even in our winter wonderland, try joining RunVassar. The org offers a beginner running plan, sends notifications for local races and organizes weekly group runs at varying distances. Regardless of pace or distance, RunVassar emphasizes that they will not leave anyone behind. The org creates a great space for students to de-stress and meet new people, all while exploring Vassar’s natural surroundings. To receive their weekly notifications, send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org.
And If none of these five lovely orgs strike your fancy, you could even get involved with The Miscellany News, Vassar’s paper of record since 1866. From ceramics, to photo shoots, to board game marathons, these five orgs are just the beginning of your search for an exciting Poughkeepsie winter. So, get out there and make those connections!