Fungus foragers, ballroom dancers, business consultants, gender activists, and students with some 650 more passions have a home in the UConn club community. We share photos of all 650. Just kidding. Find a tiny sampling here.
By Julie (Stagis) Bartucca ’10 (BUS, CLAS) and Camila Vallejo ’19 (CLAS)
Photos by Peter Morenus, Christa Yung, and Lucas Voghell ’20 (CLAS)
March to End Victim Blaming
All are welcome to fold traditional origami or compete in modern Japanese variety show games with the Japanese Student Association. JSA celebrates Japanese culture through full-day events including the annual Cherry Blossom Festival (or Sakura Matsuri), part of Spring Weekend, with live performances, art for purchase, and traditional street fare like yakisoba (stir-fried noodles). Every November, JSA teams up with the Korean Student Association for Peperocky Day (pictured), where students make their own chocolate-dipped cookie sticks similar to Japanese Pocky and Korean Pepero. In each country, November 11 is Pocky Day/Pepero Day, a Valentine’s-type holiday focused on the exchange of the popular snacks as a token of affection.
The Japanese Student Association hosts Sakura Matsuri, the Japanese Cherry Blossom Festival, to celebrate the beauty of spring alongside traditional food, performances and exhibitions.
Mind Your Business
Case studies are well and good. But founder Justin Lee ’15 (BUS) knew UConn’s high-caliber students could provide valuable strategy consulting to real businesses. Since 2014 UConn Consulting Group has done just that for 15 companies and organizations, from startups to the UConn Foundation and UConn Athletics to the Massachusetts Department of Education. And they’re doing it well — one client said they forgot they weren’t working with seasoned professionals.
Through a partnership between the Office of Community Outreach and Nutmeg Big Brothers Big Sisters, thousands of UConn students — “bigs” — who have mentored students in Windham, Connecticut’s elementary and middle schools over the past decade-plus have grown from their experience just as much as the “littles” do, says Nutmeg BBBS Director of School Programs Allison Holst-Grubbe. One young woman was a Little Sister as a girl in Windham, then came to UConn and gave back as a Big Sister, then as a site manager. She is now a teacher. Talk about giving us all the feels.
In the West Indies
Never had a chance to go to an authentic Caribbean carnival? No need: The West Indian Student Organization hosts one right on campus every April. Bacchanal Bashment and other events like a yearly fashion show bring the colorful costumes (think rhinestone-bedazzled bikini tops and feathered headdresses), upbeat music, and joyful dancing of the West Indies to Storrs. President Cynthia Bissereth ’20 (ENG), a first-generation American whose family is from Haiti, says her favorite part has been learning about her own ancestry and about the diversity within the community.
WISO Fashion Show: 2018
A Real Fun Guy
There is fungus among us, and the Mycology Club wants to find it. And identify it. Through hikes with professors and forays into the forest to forage for food (say that three times fast), the group aims to learn everything they can about mushrooms and their ilk. “It’s a combination of academics and outdoor activity that gets you noticing what’s beneath the top layers of the forest,” says President and Co-Founder Zoe Demitrack ’20 (ENG).
It’s been 27 years since Rockapella sang the theme song for “Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego?” Luckily for the 10 a cappella groups at UConn, the instrument-free-band craze is still going strong. Pictured at Convocation 2018 are the Conn-Men, the 17-year-old, all-male group that has performed at the White House and opened for Yale’s Whiffenpoofs, Pentatonix, and — yes — Rockapella.
Conn-Men preform "House of the Rising Sun"
UConn a cappella group Rubyfruit mashes up One Direction's "Kiss You", Katy Perry's "Unconditionally", and Miley Cyrus' "Adore You".
The Voices of Freedom Gospel Choir from UConn perform on the Storrs campus.
You were onto something with that science fair volcano. UConn Chemistry Club celebrates its members’ love for this science of substances — and gets the next generation excited about it — primarily through demonstrations at their weekly meetings and through outreach to local schools, volunteering at 4-H STEM Day and the Middle School Science Bowl. Demos range from making batteries out of fruit to burning magnesium in dry ice to a fiery thermite reaction — all to spark kids’ (whether middle school or college students) enthusiasm for STEM.
Friendship and camaraderie with fellow aspiring veterinarians, connections with professionals working in the field, and opportunities to pamper sweet pooches at a biannual dog wash event? Check, check, and check. UConn’s Pre-Vet Club members build their resumes and cooperative spirit through an annual alumni banquet, visits to the yearly American Pre-Veterinary Medical Association symposium, and service/research trips to places like South Africa and Honduras.
🐶 💖 🛁
Sport has been defined as “tumultuous merriment,” and jumping out of a plane certainly fits that definition. It’s also serious business for members of UConn Skydiving. The club sport allows boundless opportunity to train and compete in this expensive hobby — one member has racked up 2,000 solo jumps. Above right is Meghan Ryan ’22 (Pharm.D.), whose team, Space Force ROTC, earned a silver medal in the four-way advanced formation contest at the 2018 National Collegiate Parachuting Championships in Arizona. CT True Blue, another UConn team, snagged gold.
USPA National Collegiate Parachuting Championships 2016 Winners
Jonathan joins in