Eclectic groups offer students varied experiences at the U

Hayley Odom

Inside a quiet elevator packed with students, University junior Anthony Brown sang and played his drums.

His creation, the Elevator Music Club – designed to break any awkward silences lingering in Middlebrook Hall elevators – became one of 70 new student groups registered since fall semester.

“Elevators can be really uncomfortable because everyone’s really quiet and they just stare at the (floor) numbers,” Brown said. “We sing to them about themselves and attempt to provide some comedic relief. It makes for a memorable experience.”

To start a new group, University students need to register online and have three members to hold officer positions.

A student group can use meeting rooms in Coffman Union and the St. Paul Student Center free of charge.

As hundreds of student groups vie for student fees Friday, the newest ones need to survive a year before they too can join the fray.

But even for the first-year groups that will not receive fiscal support from the student body are among 530 groups on campus that offer something for everybody.

Students whose interests lie within the more traditional realms of music can explore the sounds of Celtic bagpipes and drumming through the Student Brian Boru Irish Pipe Band.

“It’s a good way to expose various students to the music and find people who want to play traditional Celtic music,” said Matt Grimm, a senior in aerospace engineering and mechanics who is the group’s president and founder.

The group plays at student gatherings where its music is requested and also provides free lessons to those interested in learning to play traditional Celtic instruments.

Aside from musical groups, students can scout out organizations that vary in focus from fireworks to Star Trek.

The Pyrotechnics Association of America promotes safety when using fireworks.

“Our group is a good way to meet people with similar interests. We’re basically around to have a good time,” said group president Ian Tuong Bui, a junior studying math and electrical engineering. He is also president and founder of Star Trek Fridays, another student group.

Avid Trekkies comprise the group and gather Fridays to watch episodes of the sci-fi show’s “Next Generation.”

Fans of the Tiger Woods PGA Tour video game can join the Tiger Woods Golf Association.

“Being a Tiger Woods fan is optional, as long as you like the video game,” said Jonathan Berry, a first-year journalism student and president and founder of the group.

Students are not the only ones with thematic groups. The Physics Force includes one physics professor along with high school physics teachers.

Physics Force performs demonstrations around the Twin Cities area.

“We have a great time together,” said Dan Dahlberg, a physics and astronomy professor and an original member of the group.