Athletes, activists and avian enthusiasts: Student Government approves eight new clubs for the 2022 spring semester

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Lafayette Skate Club unites students with a passion for all types of skating. (Photo by Conrad Tilroe ’25)

Madeline Marriott, Assistant Arts and Culture Editor

With the approval of an impressive eight new student organizations this spring, Lafayette students have even more opportunities than before to get involved on campus. These clubs range in focus from birdwatching and skating around campus to lobbying for bills in Congress.

Men’s Club Volleyball 

The new men’s club volleyball team provides an opportunity for male students to play competitive volleyball against other teams. In the past, two club volleyball teams have taken the court at Lafayette: the women’s club team and the co-ed team. While the women’s team played competitively against other schools, the co-ed team only played internally. 

Andrew Gershon ‘23, interim president of the team, was surprised by the lack of male participants in volleyball in his first years on campus. That has changed recently, sparking the idea for the new team. 

“There’s a good amount of first-years and sophomores now, and some juniors that were interested in creating this club recognized the need for it,” Gershon said.

The team plans to practice two times a week and compete in regional tournaments starting this spring. 

The club was officially recognized after completing the SCORE workshop, which is a required training session for sports club officers.

Lafayette Bird Club

Cassandra Wilk ‘22, the founder of Lafayette Bird Club, has one goal for the organization: to foster an appreciation for birds on Lafayette’s campus. 

“I really want to help people explore their love for birds or create a new love for birds, and just get to know them more because they are really cool animals,” Wilk said.

Wilk has plans for a wide variety of bird-centered activities for members, including arts and crafts, education and birdwatching. She also wants to use the app Audubon, which allows for the identification and tracking of birds. 

“[Audubon] does a backyard birdwatch where you sit in a place for half an hour and you keep track of all the birds you see. This helps Audubon know what population of birds are in a specific area when you submit the results online,” Wilk explained.

According to Wilk, there are many places nearby that provide spaces for birdwatching, including local wildlife observatories and Lafayette’s Arts Trail.

Members of the Lafayette Bird Club will learn to identify birds of all types by sight and sound. (Photo courtesy of Henry Hipp ’22)

Lafayette Skate Club

The idea for Lafayette Skate Club was born when Remy Oktay ‘24 noticed small groups of people skating by themselves in different areas on campus.

“I was like, ‘wait a second, there’s this whole skating community of all these little pairs of people, but no one knows each other. Let’s make a club,’” Oktay said. 

The club brings together practitioners of numerous types of skating, including skateboarding, several types of skating on wheels and even ice skating in the cold weather. 

According to Oktay, the club will be flexible; get-togethers will be both schedule-dependent and weather-dependent. 

Oktay hopes the club will not only provide a place for interested members to skate together but also innovate. Members will have the opportunity to come together to build implements on which to do tricks and “new ways of locomoting.”

“People can come together and build a new skateboard, a new pair of free line skates or make up something new,” he explained “Maybe we’ll invent some new form of wheeled transportation that can become known.”

Club members will skate together and create new methods of cruising around campus. (Photo by Conrad Tilroe ’25)

Screen Printing and Sewing Club

Back home in Colorado, Luke Wolsko ‘25 used a screen printing press and a sewing machine in his basement to make his own clothes. Now, he is bringing his passion to Lafayette to help other students to do the same. 

One of Wolsko’s main goals is to teach other students how to repurpose clothing by teaching them how to sew and use the printing press. Additionally, the club will focus on searching for clothing that fits the bill. 

“I’ll run sewing lessons, and we’ll go to thrift stores together where we can find items to repurpose,” Wolsko said. 

Wolsko plans to have club meetings as often as student participation allows. “If they’re there, I’ll be there,” he said of students looking to join in on their events. 

Hispanic Finance Association 

According to Natalia Baez ‘23, the Hispanic Finance Association (HFA) focuses on three missions: networking, education and mentoring. 

“Our goal is to help students feel prepared for their path after college and finding careers,” Baez said. 

Baez hopes the club will provide a place for upperclassmen to guide underclassmen in areas such as securing internships, interview techniques and professional development. 

“I’ve learned so much and so many techniques through my peers. It’s just really supporting each other throughout the process,” Baez said.

Additionally, Baez plans to bring in experts from the financial world, including recent Lafayette alum, to speak to students about their experiences. 

Students interested in joining HFA can find the club on Instagram @lafayette_hfa.

Lafayette for Reproductive Autonomy, Justice, and Empowerment

Thalia “Lia” Charles ‘22 set out to start Lafayette for Reproductive Autonomy, Justice, and Empowerment (L-RAJE) after noticing the lack of sexual health resources on campus.

“We are a reproductive, sexual health, sexual and menstrual health organization,” Charles said. “Our club aims to educate people about these topics around reproductive, sexual and menstrual health and also provide these services to the student population.”

L-RAJE began hosting events at the end of last semester. One of these events was a discussion regarding the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization Supreme Court case, which has implications for abortion rights across the country. 

Charles, who was particularly inspired to take action when recounting the ways that racism and misogyny intersect for Black women, plans to hold an L-RAJE event during Black History Month this February.

Students can join the L-RAJE GroupMe via the link in the club’s Instagram bio @lraje_laf

The board of L-RAJE seeks to teach Lafayette students and the greater Easton community about reproductive, sexual and menstrual health. (Photo by Caroline Burns ’22 for The Lafayette)

Bipartisan Coalition 

Kait Ahern ‘23 recently spearheaded the creation of a space for students of all political affiliations to come together with the Bipartisan Coalition.

“I noticed we only really have partisan spaces on campus. There’s not really an organization that tries to bring together students from across all parties and try to find common ground, and I think that’s very important,” Ahern explained. 

“It won’t just take one party, one ideology — it’s going to take compromise, and it will take everyone coming together as a collective in order to fix these problems,” Ahern said of the issues facing the country today. 

Ahern plans to find an issue that all students find important and select a bill to lobby for.

“A lot of young people, regardless of party affiliation, feel that climate change is very important. So if we picked an environmental bill, we would work together to come up with a pitch to virtually meet with members of the Pennsylvania Senate, Pennsylvania House of Representatives or the United States Congress,” Ahern said.

More information can be found on the club’s Instagram page @bipartisan.coalition.

Waves of Equality

Nelly Fadil ‘24 has been working to create opportunities for children with disabilities with the non-profit organization Waves for Equality since 2016. She was originally inspired to start Waves for Equality in 2016 after noticing the different ways people treat her brother, who is on the autism spectrum.

Now, Fadil has brought the group to Lafayette with the hope of fighting the stigma surrounding differences in ability.

“We want to promote inclusive language, and we want to have events and activities, both recreational and academic, to include [differently abled] students, whether they’re at Lafayette or in the Easton community,” Fadil said.

Fadil plans to hold large fundraising events once or twice a year and spend the time in between working on smaller projects in the Easton area including tutoring and training on how to interact with differently abled children from doctors, educators and family members.

More information can be found on the organization’s Instagram profile @waves_equality and at https://wavesofequality.wixsite.com/mysite.