Student groups represent wide range of interests

Tom Ford

On March 10, hundreds of students took over the St. Paul Recreation Center for a 12-hour night of dance marathons, karaoke and magic shows.

This event, organized to benefit children’s cancer research at the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, raised about $20,000.

It was run by Up ’til Dawn, just one of the 362 registered student groups on campus, which are open to all University students.

These groups offer opportunities ranging from social activism to hobby clubs.

Students can create their own groups for and about virtually anything they wish.

Forming a student group is a simple process and can be rewarding.

Carol March formed Up ’til Dawn last year and served as its executive director.

She not only “affected something” and “saw leaders grow within the campus community,” but also improved her grades despite her busier schedule, March said.

Student groups encompass academic clubs, such as the American Society of Mechanical Engineers; cultural organizations, such as the African Student Association; political groups, such as the Campus Libertarians; and more than 30 fraternities and sororities.

The 30-year-old Minnesota Public Interest Research Group organizes campaigns and events concerning environmental, consumer and social justice causes here and on campuses across Minnesota.

MPIRG has contributed to drafting and passing state legislative bills, such as the state Superfund to clean up toxic dumps and protect citizens from exposure.

Sports and recreation groups, like the tennis and volleyball clubs, organize games and leagues for students on campus.

The Wayfarer, a student-run literary journal, annually publishes a collection of submitted student poetry, fiction and non-fiction prose, and photographs and drawings.

Even gun enthusiasts and those with a passionate interest in the Middle Ages can join the Armament Club and the Society for Creative Anachronism, respectively.

To form a new group, students need merely two other members and a $15 registration fee.

After filling out a registration form, meeting with Campus Involvement Center staff and developing a constitution – detailing objectives, activities and membership policies – a new group is officially registered.

The University provides registered groups with free e-mail and Internet accounts and allows groups to reserve indoor and outdoor space on campus for meetings and events.

Registration materials for new groups and information on existing groups are available at the Campus Involvement Center, located at 825 Washington Ave. S.E., or accessible online at http://studentgroups.tc.umn.edu.