By Lara Grant
With around 51,000 students enrolled at the University of Texas, it’s not too difficult to find peers who share similar interests. UT makes it easier to discover these people through their student organization database.
Some 1,100 registered student organizations are on campus and the online database classifies them into 12 categories, such as political, social and recreational groups. Several of these organizations are unique: the Texas Fiddlers and Texas Juggling Society are just a few campus clubs that can provide that niche interest.
If none of those organizations on campus are what you’re looking for, just start your own. The Office of the Dean of Students lists the necessary steps on their website: find a group of three or more students who want to create the desired organization; fill out the necessary forms and turn them into the Student Organization Center, along with $10; attend a New Officer and New Registered Student Organization Orientation session.
Before you rule out clubs already up and running, here’s at look at five standout organizations and when you can catch up with them:
AUSTIN HARRY POTTER ALLIANCE: This is a chapter of the international nonprofit Harry Potter Alliance. Their mission is to fight real-life Dark Arts by using parallels from the Harry Potter series. “We pull the messages of love and equality and fighting for what’s right from the books and apply them to real world problems, with an HP twist,” says President Caitlin Gilchrist. “One of our first major projects was the Deathly Hallows Campaign, where we fought seven real world “Horcruxes” (poverty, illiteracy, depression, body image problems, etc.) in the months between Deathly Hallows Part 1 and 2.” In addition, they hope to make the mortal world better by educating the public on issues like global warming, genocide and poverty. You can attend their meetings scheduled on Tuesdays at 6 p.m. in BUR 134.
PARKOUR AUSTIN: Parkour is a discipline developed from military obstacle course training and became an activity practiced in the public. The UT Parkour group promotes the practice and philosophy of parkour through regular trainings. “Our group is meant to promote safe, responsible, and fun parkour training in Austin, especially among the UT student population,” says Aidan Coyne, one of the group’s leaders. “Our training is free and open to anyone of any skill level, and we enjoy teaching new people.” They are scheduled to meet Saturdays by the UT tower at 6:30 p.m.
ART OF LIVING: The UT group promotes the global Art of Living Foundation by offering stress-relief and self-empowerment workshops. They are scheduled to have weekly meditation and general meetings on Wednesdays at 6 p.m. in GAR 0.120. There, “students participate in various breathing and meditation exercises and also learn more about the benefits and impact that meditation can have on the mind,” says President Arjun Adapalli. Free weekly yoga sessions for people of all skill level are on Mondays in UNB 2.102 at 7:30 p.m.
MY LITTLE LONGHORN: This group is for fans of the animated television series My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, which first aired in 2010. “In general meetings, we talk about various aspects to the show, watch old episodes, have creative days where we draw various stuff related to the show or work on our side projects,” says Justin Cheng, Element of Magic officer. The group is scheduled to meet every Friday from 4-5 p.m. in PHR 2.1110. They also have some meetings on Saturdays to watch new episodes of My Little Pony as they premier and have a discussion on the show.
AMERICAN RENAISSANCE SOCIETY: The UT chapter of the ARS serves as a forum for individuals to discuss various topics. They are scheduled to meet at Caffe Medici on the second and fourth Monday of the month at 7 p.m. Topics have already been decided and include discussions on what America will look like in four years and what foreign culture they find most fascinating.