Don’t get lost in a crowd

    On a campus that features the largest student enrollment in the state, it can be easy to get lost in the big crowd. Getting involved is key and knowing where to look is half the battle.

    When looking to get involved on campus, club sports are viable options for the sports-minded individual. The abilities in the clubs can range from the true beginner to the expert and everyone in between. Club sports, otherwise known as Rec Clubs, are student-run clubs funded by the students. There are nearly 30 Rec Clubs currently active at PSU, including activities such as badminton, crew, soccer and even one entitled “MegaGamers.”

    The main requirement for joining a club is a desire to be active and an appetite for fun. All the clubs are geared toward getting students an environment to connect with each other and stay active in Portland’s urban playground. Staying active can be important to leading a healthy lifestyle and breaking up the tedious rhythm of classes, homework and sleep. To keep a regular schedule, weekly meetings or practices are held to practice the sport, develop skills and to just hang out.

    ”Our goal is that each club would have a recreational, educational and competitive side,” said Jenny Welnick, Rec Clubs adviser/coordinator.

    Some clubs are highly competitive, to the point that tryouts are required. Some are strictly recreational and geared towards having fun and learning a new activity. Most have both aspects and students can feel comfortable playing, learning and competing while developing new friendships.

    Students with limited skills in any given activity should feel at ease participating in any club PSU has to offer. There are several groups that have been formed as social havens to form friendships. Clubs like the skate club and the medieval combat club have been formed for anyone to join and socialize. Even clubs that participate in competition welcome and even encourage members to join with little or no experience.

    ”Everyone is more than happy to teach,” said Miriam Gillow-Wiles, PSU senior and Rec Clubs peer adviser           

    Many clubs, like the sailing, badminton and dance clubs, participate both competitively and recreationally and welcome newcomers, Welnick said.

    While all clubs offered at PSU are aimed toward having fun, there is no shortage of athleticism or competition. Many clubs are able to participate in intercollegiate and local competition. The soccer clubs for both men and women take part in weekly leagues that hold playoffs at the end of the season. Individuals from tennis and table tennis made a name for themselves as they qualified for nationals last year.

    With all the different activities that are offered as clubs at PSU, it’s hard to believe that a student couldn’t find one to get involved in. If this happened to be the case, however, a group of students could form a new club as long as they met certain requirements. At least five students (three of whom must be taking at least eight credits and have a 2.0 GPA) would need to be willing to fill out paperwork and meet with a Rec Clubs adviser to sort out all the details of the club, such as meeting times and location. Some recent 2006-2007 additions include the pool and billiards club and the squash club.

    ”It’s an excellent way to get some student leadership on campus,” Gillow-Wiles said.

Getting involved in clubs is a painless way to gain some extracurricular activities, and being a leader of one could help with a job search in the future. It would show an ability to lead others and get out and try new things.

    Other than staying active and getting more involved, clubs are able to work out discounts with local venders. The snowboarding club offers free transportation (included in the $25 club dues) to Mt. Hood each week and members can receive discounted lift tickets to Mt. Hood Meadows, Timberline and Skibowl. Discounts to Daddies Board Shop and the outdoor store Next Adventure are also available, according to the club’s website.

    Several clubs offer discounts such as these. Students in the college bowlers club are able to bowl free during designated practice times and the cycling club offers discounts on products and equipment.

With all the benefits Rec Clubs have to offer, it would seem most students would find a way to get involved, but Gillow-Wiles said the average student doesn’t really know how many clubs are offered or how to find out about them.

    There are three ways students can find out more information about specific clubs. To speak with a Rec Club adviser a student can stop by the campus recreation office in the Smith Center, Room 047. For an online list of clubs currently active and links to some club websites go to and find the club sports link. To meet with some club participants in person check out Party in the Park during the opening weeks of school.