Got an interest? There’s a club for you at KU
There are more than 600 student groups at Kansas University — and they run the gamut of topics and interest.
But Quidditch? Torn from the pages of the Harry Potter books, one KU student group is devoted to making real that mythical sport.
“We’re dorks,” KU Quidditch Team President Nicole Denney said laughing.
Denney, a junior from Shawnee, said the team started as dorm talk with a group of friends during her freshman year. The group formed in September 2010 after her friend Doug Whiston, who is now the team’s captain, signed the group up for a tournament hosted by Wichita State University Quidditch.
The team had only three weeks and three practices to prepare for the tournament, but placed third against teams that were more experienced, Denney said. Teams from Texas A&M and Oklahoma State, among others, attended the tournament.
Though Quidditch may seem unorthodox, it is an official club sports team at KU. After an enormous amount of paperwork and a “terrifying” presentation to the sports club council, the team achieved official status, Denney said.
In light of the numerous steps to become an official sports club, she had a few doubts.
“In the beginning you have to really want it,” Denney said. “In the end it paid off because it’s a lot of fun.”
The Student Involvement and Leadership Center collects information on all of KU’s clubs to make it easy for students to find one that suits their interests. All student groups are listed at www.ku.edu/organizations. The mission statements, meeting times and contact information are available on this website.
The Summer Interest Survey, which is distributed at freshman orientation, allows incoming students to sign up for email lists from clubs they are interested in.
SILC holds club fairs during Hawk Week and also produces a monthly newsletter called the Involvement Spotlight, which highlights student group events. This newsletter is distributed to about 10,000 students and is available online at www.silc.ku.edu/nvolveme.
Aaron Quisenberry, SILC associate director, said the KU Band is one of the most popular clubs, based on sheer numbers. It is the largest student group on campus. Crew, Cycling and Ultimate Frisbee are some of the most popular sports clubs, he said.
Other popular student groups are community-service based, such as Dance Marathon and Up ’til Dawn, which both raise funds for children with serious illnesses, Quisenberry said. The Center for Community Outreach helps students get involved with giving back to the community.
KU also has a large greek system. More than 15 percent of KU students belong to one of the 45 fraternities or sororities on campus, said SILC Associate Director Amy Long. Long coordinates with the four greek councils: the Interfraternity Council, Multicultural Greek Council, National Pan-Hellenic Council and the Panhellenic Association.
The sense of community and networking opportunities that a chapter can provide for students is why Long endorses the greek system.
“It provides a community within a community both in a sense of connection and lifelong opportunity,” she said.
Starting a student group is easy, Quisenberry said. Students can register a club online and work with SILC to establish their group.
Student groups pay a $20 fee to be listed on the Summer Interest Survey and have access to the freshman email database. About 140 groups participate, Quisenberry said.
“There really is a point where the student group has to take a lot of ownership and do things themselves,” he said. Quisenberry recommends planning great events and advertising as much as possible to generate interest.