Ninjas, memes and thrifting: new student groups come to campus

There are over 800 student groups currently on the University of Minnesota campus.

Audrey Kennedy

The University of Minnesota has over 800 student groups, with more being formed every year. The Minnesota Daily profiled three student groups created this semester. 

University Ninjas Club

After the sport gained popularity through the television show “American Ninja Warrior,” Kally Kolbeck decided to create a club for students to participate in a ninja obstacle course.

The group meets weekly to practice, switching between the University Recreation and Wellness Center and Conquer Ninja Athletics, a “ninja” gym in Burnsville, Minnesota.  

RecWell has various equipment helpful for prospective ninjas, such as monkey bars and a climbing wall. Members build general skills at RecWell so they can use more specialized rigs and obstacles at the gym, Kolbeck said. 

Kolbeck, an Ultimate Ninja Athlete Association competitor who has won several competitions nationwide, said the club hopes to eventually build a University team to compete in recreational ninja leagues. 

“The cool thing about it is, in the TV show they feature people who started from no skills at all. It’s for anybody who’s willing to try,” she said. 

Campus Meme Society

After running a successful University Facebook meme group, a couple students decided to share their meme knowledge with students in a new way. 

Andy Columbus created the student group Campus Meme Society in collaboration with unofficial Facebook meme group UMN Memes for Frozen Northern Teens, which boasts over 2,700 members. 

“I was on the meme page for a long time [as a PSEO student] and we always talked about starting a club to build community in real life. When I started living on campus, I decided to found one,” Columbus said. 

While the group is still in the logistics stage, they have plenty of ideas for future events, he said. 

The club plans to host events around campus, such as information sessions on memes and how to create them. They also want to expand memes into video form for the group. 

A couple of the video ideas include having professors read their Rate My Professors reviews and having club members interview professors about memes, Columbus said.  

Students at other colleges have also started Facebook meme groups. Columbus’ main goal is for the University’s page to have more members than the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s meme group.

“I firmly believe there are many individuals on campus who love memes but don’t know about the meme group. I’m sure they would love to join,” Columbus said. 

NSG Thrift Group

University student Grant Fuller created a thrift shop group for students who love the thrill of the hunt when buying used clothes.

While the group originally started as an reason for Fuller and his friends to get together and thrift, there are now 10 to 15 regular members who visit various stores around the Twin Cities to find hidden gems.

Thrifting spots range from various Goodwills to more curated stores like Urban Jungle, a shop specializing in streetwear and vintage clothing.

After each meeting, members collect pictures of finds and create a summary to determine how successful the trip was. Fuller said his best find was a pair of Louis Vuitton shoes for $2, which he then sold for $120. 

“You literally never know what you’re going to find,” he said.