Small campus organizations make big difference for students

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College is about getting a higher education, but it also involves a community aspect. The residence halls are one form of community at K-State, but students can also connect by locating a club that fits their personality and interests.

K-State has more than 475 student organizations, according to the K-State admissions website.

This gives students a wide range of activities to choose from, some of which are more well-known than others. These more obscure clubs are where some students find their niche.

“When I first came to K-State, I wanted to join a club to have somewhere I was guaranteed to socialize,” said Sam Davies, a former K-State student. “Anime has been something I was always into ever since I was a kid watching ‘Toonami.'”

Davies found his match with the Anime and Manga Society, which met weekly in the K-State Student Union.

“Everyone gathered in the Big 12 room on a Friday night, we’d talk until it was time to start, and then it was two shows followed by a break and one more show. Each semester we would start by creating a short-list of recent shows that were watchable,” Davies said.

For Davies, the Anime and Manga Society was one of the best things about K-State, but others may have different interests.

K-State’s agriculture program provides a number of ways to get involved. One way is the Block and Bridle Club, whose members share an interest in animal agriculture.

This group brings together students who have a similar goal and allows them to interact based on a common interest.

“The K-State Block and Bridle Club welcomes any major to our club, whether they have an animal background or not,” said Natalie Laubner, member of the Block and Bridle Club and junior in animal sciences and industry.

The group meets twice monthly, on the first and third Tuesdays of the month.

Though the group focuses on educating its members and promoting the National Block and Bridle Club’s objectives, there is time for fun.

“We like to be serious and fun in Block and Bridle, and one way that we like to get together as a group is playing kickball in the wood chips in Weber Arena or go ice skating in the winter,” Laubner said. “We also have fall and spring barbecues, along with a series of what we like to call Cowboy Olympics.”

These lesser-known clubs bring students together in a niche setting that provides fun, educational and social activities – like paintball.

“I joined [the Paintball Club] because I have been interested in paintball since eighth grade and I wanted to find a group with the same interests as me,” said Mike Offerman, president of the KSU Paintball Club and junior in secondary education.

Offerman and the other members of the Paintball Club center their game around speedball, which is a type of paintball.

“We have played at fields in Salina, Wichita, Lawrence, Topeka and one down in Oklahoma,” Offerman said. “Some of these are just for practice and others we go there to compete in different local tournaments.”

The group meets in Marlatt Hall on Tuesdays at 8:30 p.m. and practices are held Thursday from 8:30 p.m. until 11 p.m. at Ahearn Gymnasium.

Paintball isn’t the only sports club that prepares for tournament competition. For the Badminton Club, training for competition is one of their main focuses.

“The difference between recreational open badminton and the kind of badminton we practice as a club is we deliberately train and compete in a serious manner,” said Zhining Ou, former president of the KSU Badminton Club and graduate student in statistics. “Knowing that badminton is an official sport listed by the Olympic Games and a commonly favored exercise by the mass population spread out in Asia, Europe and the Middle East, the club sends out teams representing K-State to various open tournaments held in the Midwest.”

Badminton Club members not only travel around the region to compete, but they’ve also been making hometown history, too.

“Last year, the KSU Badminton Club hosted the first tournament, the Flint Hills Badminton Open, in Manhattan history, which successfully attracted 46 participants from Omaha, Wichita, Lawrence, Kansas City and Denver,” Ou said.

These are only four clubs students can participate in at K-State; there are still more than 471 student organizations just waiting to be discovered.

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