Be a Joiner 

From Westminster College’s Geek Club to the MBA Spouse Association at BYU, there’s a club for every taste at Utah universities.

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More geek than Greek? Then the Geek Club at Westminster College is for you. Brigham Young University has two student clubs devoted to the art of break dancing. If that’s not obscure enough for you, how about Sergeant Plautus’ Lonely Hearts Club at the University of Utah, where Latin speaking students presumably go to find a date, or the BYU Finnish Club established with a mission “to unify students with an interest in Finland and provide them with opportunities to interact with those of similar interests.”

In college, any sporto, motorhead, slut, blood, waistoid, dweeb, dickhead or righteous dude can find a group of the likeminded. The righteous, if not the dudes, can go in for a cause with the Utah Primate Freedom Project at the U, or join the ranks of tomorrow’s right-wing reactionaries at the Eagle Forum Collegians of Salt Lake Community College, while the United for Decency club at BYU protects campus from the scourge of “negative media.” At the U, one student club is dedicated to ratting out liberal professors as potential subversives while on the other side of the cultural divide members of the Students for Sensible Drug Policy pass out petitions to legalize sensible drugs at the Liberty Park drum circle. For the less ambitious, BYU’s 2tall club offers plus-size shopping hints along with honorary membership to those who don’t meet height requirements. Then there’s the Mission Prep Club, a Storytelling Club, and the Knit-Wits, who “celebrate all things yarn.”

City’s Weekly’s five minutes of research show the following to be the best clubs to join:

Utah Badminton Club (U)

Beside the promise of all the fun to be had with constant references to the “shuttlecock,” Andy Thompson founded the Badminton Club last year because his 300 South back yard was the perfect size for a net. The club, which currently has eight members, has big plans for a start-of-the-school-year tournament. As a game, Thompson likes badminton because it doesn’t reward athletes over less-fit players. It also goes well with barbecuing, a parallel activity at many club meetings.

BBQ Club (BYU)

Similar to the U’s Badminton Club in that it began with a few friends pursuing a good time, BYU’s BBQ Club became the largest student organization on campus in its first year. The club’s mission, “to create a Zion-like community through BBQs,” is backed up with a citation from Mormon scripture: “And whoso forbiddeth to abstain from meats … is not ordained of God” (D&C 49:18), which club founder Geoff Tice reads as a promotion of meat eating. Prior to starting the club, Tice and friends used to drive a barbecue-equipped 1985 Toyota van onto the quad, each pitching in a few bucks to come up with the $25 fine for parking there. They formed the club to make their barbecue legal but quickly found themselves with 2,500 members, serving 500 at a pop. “Putting on big barbecues almost became a second job,” said Tice who, though he graduated three years ago, still gets e-mails from satisfied or angry club members.

The Frasority (U)

The goal of the Frasority, is to “have fun and get the university to pay for it,” said President Brandon Welch. “I’m just being brutally honest.” Welch started the club as a joke to poke “good-natured” fun at fraternity and sorority culture. (Club members wear T-shirts that appropriate Greek letters and appear to spell out “Eat Apple Pie.”) Four years later, Welch’s joke has become a going concern and an official student group with an organized leadership and regular activities, such as a recent spring-break trip to Los Angeles to view a taping of The Price Is Right. The Frasority difference is there’s no pledging. “Anybody can be in. You know, like, whatever, just noncommittal fun,” said Welch. “A lot of people like that. They like not having to be tied down to a certain group.” Another key is no dues, he said. “That’s part of the reason I didn’t want to be in the Greek system. I didn’t feel I should have to pay to have friends.

Quill and the Sword (BYU)

If you dream of dressing up in medieval armor that you made yourself then bashing someone else’s skull in, this is your dream club. But be warned. The Quill and the Sword isn’t your garden-variety-geeks-in-parks group. Members may give themselves silly names like Joe the Saxton or Bjorn the Lost, but they’re deadly serious. The club meets weekly for lectures. (Last year’s focus was the Norman conquest of England, said club president Travis Shenk.) Then there are additional meetings of club subgroups, or “guilds.” A member who goes by the club name Wolfmaer advertises on the club Webpage a guild “open to provide some sort of social venue while people knit chain mail.” Student Emily Fowler, aka Dymphna the Irish Bard, runs the Fools Guild focused on medieval entertainment. Other guilds are equally dedicated to researching and mimicking aspects of Middle Ages’ culture, from cooking to dancing to fighting to illustrating manuscripts. There are none of the pagan overtones here you might expect at a similar club on a non-Mormon campus. Members of the Quill and the Sword’s Mystics Guild study Middle Ages theology, but, according to the Website, with a unique twist: “We seek to study the writings and works of medieval religious leaders … to better understand the Restored Gospel of Christ.”

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