Archive for Saturday, August 16, 2003

Students can create own club at KU

August 16, 2003


When he was foiled at fencing, Brian McDow decided to start his own club.

McDow, a fencing enthusiast, arrived at Kansas University in October 2001, but struggled to find a partner. He checked around to see if there was a fencing club. There had been, but the club was defunct.

So he started it again.

"What happened is, I moved here from Iowa State, and I decided I needed to fence," he said.

That is part of the reason there are so many clubs and organizations at KU. A look at the list reveals there are hundred of organizations -- including fraternities and sororities, but also clubs in religion, culture, sports, politics and more.

The "Bs" in the student organization directory, for instance, include the KU Ballroom Dance Club, the Bahai Club, the Black Law Students Assn., the Biology Club and the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Club.

To create a student organization, the organizer must fill out an application. The organization must have an adviser and a statement of purpose. The registration must be renewed every year.

"Actually getting a club formed is not too difficult," McDow said. "When it comes to other things you need from the university, you have to fight other clubs and organizations for the space."

There are three types of organizations, according to the university:

For a directory of Kansas University organizations, go to
  • Student organizations are composed primarily of students, and all the officers must be enrolled students.
  • Campus organizations are composed primarily of members of the university community -- students, KU staff members and/or their spouses. The officers of the organization must be members of the university community.
  • Community organizations benefit both the Lawrence and university communities. Community organizations are encouraged to register with KU if their programs and services are beneficial to members of the university community.

The benefits of registering with KU, according to the university:

  • The organization can use the name of Kansas University in its title.
  • Groups may request funding through Student Senate. Community groups can request consideration of a contractual arrangement with the Student Senate.
  • Use of KU offices and other facilities.

Since it started, the Fencing Club has grown from five to 20 members.

"Since then, we usually get people very randomly," McDow said. "It tends to be a very loose system. We've done a couple of demonstrations, but we don't seem to pick up any membership from it."

The university helps new students and organizations find each other. The students fill out a survey listing their interests; if a student indicates an interest in fencing, that club is sent contact information for the student.

McDow graduated in May; he'll remain with the club as its coach. Fencing fans aren't hard to find, he said.

"If they want to do it, they hunt us down," he said.

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