By Margaret Koss
Keeping track of all the student organizations on campus can be one of the most daunting challenges that students face, proven by the loud chaos of the Activities Fair each year. Knowing each club on campus and its function within the Lawrence community is knowledge that takes time to accumulate, especially with the number of new clubs added each year. A few of these new clubs that may currently be flying under the radar are the Lawrence Cycling Club, Environmental Education Organization, Bird and Nature Club, and Alexander Hamilton Club.
The Lawrence Cycling Club, or Bike Club, run by Emily Wendorff and Katie Rozek, is an all-encompassing club that caters to all interests and skill levels. The club, started last spring, has been trying to get people out on the road by having different riding options in terms of duration and difficulty. “There’s a lot of things to think about in cycling. Some people are commuters, some are racers, some people just appreciate watching it—but we’re trying to work with everything from implementing more bike infrastructure in Appleton to planning short and long rides,” Wendorff said.
The club is flexible and wants to find out about everyone’s interests and what members want to get out of the club. Email Wendorff or Rozek to get involved, or attend the meetings at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesdays in the living room of Greenfire (the yellow house on the corner of Alton and Meade). P.S. You don’t even need to currently own a bike on campus to get involved!
The Bird and Nature Club, run by Patrick Palines, Ari Rice, and Zechariah Meunier, employs a more hands-on approach to the appreciation of nature and the environment. The club takes trips throughout the year that, described by Palines, “mainly focus on birding,” or identifying different species of birds, but also take the time to “observe and admire the various mammals, reptiles, insects, and plants we see as well, along with the wonderful scenery overall. It’s a great way to just get outside, off-campus, and some exercise for a few hours.”
In addition to these fairly regular, local field trips, the club also hopes to take a few trips to more distant locations in order to observe some of Wisconsin’s rarer birds. “We are also co-leading a trip with ORC to Wyalusing State Park on the junction of the Mississippi and Wisconsin rivers, which is a hotspot for bird migration,” Palines said. To learn more about getting involved in these trips, attend the weekly meetings on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. in Steitz 102. Email Palines, Rice, or Meunier if you need access to Steitz and would like to join this club.
The Environmental Education Organization, run by Zechariah Meunier, actually isn’t a new club per se—it’s just gone through a name and mission statement change. Formerly the Ecology and Conservation Organization, a sort of hybrid between Greenfire and the Bird and Nature Club, EEO has narrowed its focus to environmental education in order to accomplish more and boost involvement. One thing Meunier hopes to do this year is bring in a few guest speakers. “I had an internship with the DNR two summers ago, and through that I worked under a landowner specialist. She would go to landowners who had endangered species on their property and try to convince them to conserve them—but as landowners, they own the plants that were living there. They don’t own the animals, but they own the plants—that’s an interesting dichotomy in the law. So I hope to bring her in, as well as other speakers that can communicate similar ideals of conservation to our club.”
In addition to bringing in people to educate the club, Meunier would like the club to educate others. “I’d like to set up a partnership with elementary schools in the area, to do volunteering once a term to teach the kids about something in nature we care about,” he said. There are opportunities for educating others on campus, as well. Meunier hopes to put in a green roof on the new Hurvis Center, which would be “educating for a long term, rather than just while we’re here.” Learn more about these opportunities by emailing Meunier and attending the meetings on Tuesdays at 9 p.m. in the WCC.
The Alexander Hamilton Society, a national organization brought to Lawrence by sophomore Bailey Reiners, is a group that promotes debate on a variety of issues within foreign, economic, and national security policy. Reiners contacted the national organization last spring and attended their conference in Washington, D.C. over the summer to learn about the club’s purpose. “The organization has a set list of 50 or so speakers that we can choose from, and then we choose a topic and invite them to Lawrence to debate with a Lawrence professor,” Reiners explained.
The club’s job is to host these debates and members work to organize the event, which is open to the entire campus. The beauty of the club is that it allows students to be involved in politics and to witness opposing viewpoints, but from people who are highly qualified in their field. “We need members right now,” Reiners said. “If I can get a couple more people to help me, we could have a debate this term.” Members have input into who visits and what the debate topic will be. Weekly meetings aren’t necessary, but contact Reiners or her co-president Chris Toivonen if you’re interested in getting involved in this low-commitment club.