New clubs: Building campus culture and community


UD has new clubs on campus this semester! The Cor Chronicle interviewed the leaders of some of these new clubs. Here is an inside look at what starting up — and managing — a club is like. 

One such club is the UD fitness and lifting club. The club’s president,  Liam Hemingway, a sophomore computer science major, explained the mission of the new group: “The UD Fitness and Lifting club is all about community. We want to establish a positive, encouraging group where members are called to learn about exercise and help others on their journey to perfect the form and function of their bodies.” 

Hemingway explained that he put a lot of care and detail into setting up his club. In his eyes, the most important task was making the club constitution. He said, “This document would set forth what the plans I had for this club and how it would operate on a day to day basis.” 

Hemingway’s original proposed constitution turned out to be too detailed, leading to some questions in the review process. He said, “This was just because I wanted this club to be like a well oiled machine.”  

Hemingway explained that the Fitness Club is “centered around support, education, awareness, and improvement. The support and education is the main function of the club, where I wanted to provide a club where there could be a place for people who are interested in fitness and lifting but nervous to get a social circle and a place to learn about the proper ways to do things in the gym.” The club is also looking to improve the facilities themselves by fundraising and spreading awareness about the state of the gym, as well as how students can contribute. 

Another new club on campus is the Cinema Connoisseurs Club, led by Francesca Pennell, junior English major. Pennell described the purpose of the club, “As a club I want to promote film as an art form and encourage my friends and peers to discover new movies and old as well as encourage discussion about these movies.” 

As with many good things in life, the idea of the club began by a chance encounter. “The story of how we were established is kind of funny actually,” said Pennell. 

During her junior poet class in the Art History Auditorium last semester, Pennell noticed that the room would be very well suited to showing films. She shared her idea with her classmate, Andy Breclaw, junior English major, and her professor, Dr. Scott Crider, professor of English. “Both Andy and Dr. Crider said they had never considered that, and then Andy and I started talking about a theoretical film club, what we would watch, what events would be like, etc,” Pennell said. 

Later the same day, Crider emailed Pennell and Breclaw to tell them that he would happily be the faculty advisor for their potential club. The two decided it would be fun to start the club and invited their friend, Brady Gallucci, junior philosophy major, to join as well. “Ultimately my friends and I agreed that film is an underrated art form at UD and we would like [to] promote the appreciation and discussion of it on campus,” Pennell said. 

Mission Youth, a new club led by senior psychology major Sara Mora, is an outreach group that supports the homeless in downtown Dallas. “Missionaries go every first Saturday of the month from 2-5 p.m. to go talk to the homeless to build a community of love, trust, and understanding,” Mora said. The club provides emotional support, clothing and food donations.  

Rather than working at a homeless shelter or a soup kitchen, members of the club meet the homeless community right where they are, an effort that seems difficult at first but pays in dividends. 

“It is important to note that our missionaries dwell with them in their space: many times this means going under bridges or sitting down in the street to talk to them. This can be intimidating at first, but the homeless are so very appreciative of our time and effort. They constantly remind us of this every single time we come. They are craving emotional intimacy,” Mora said.  

While many organizations provide for material needs, they often forget about others. “I think that is something that many people forget,” said Mora. “Many organizations are set up to help feed and clothe the homeless, but not many people just go to sit and chat with them for a couple of hours.” 

The process of setting up the club and getting everything approved took a couple of months, but it is going strong now. “We now announce at mass every month and set up booths to promote the club. We always invite people to our monthly missions and our Easter Missions (three days of missions April 6-8) that are coming up!” Mora said. Mission Youth also has a clothing donation basket in the back of the Church of the Incarnation where students can donate any garments they would like.

The bottom line: Setting up a club is hard work! According to Hemingway, “However, all in all, the club making process was exciting and very rewarding.” Each new club that students take the time to create helps add to the community and campus culture at UD.


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