6 Diamonds in the Rough at the University of Michigan

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You’re not on Michigan’s kick-ass football team, and you’re not into Greek life. You’re too tone-deaf to join an A Cappella group, and your life isn’t consumed by a professional frat like your premed friends. Sometimes you feel like your interests are so niche that they don’t warrant a club of their own. Luckily, the University of Michigan has over 1,400 student organizations for people of all shapes, sizes and fetishes. Check out these six clubs at U of M that you might not have heard of before—but you’ll be glad you discovered.

1. Writers’ Community

There are plenty of typical clubs on campus for English majors like lit magazines Xylem and Fortnight and the school paper Michigan Daily. But Writer’s Community gives you the opportunity to share your poetry or short stories in a casual workshop setting that doesn’t require you to enroll in a high-level creative writing class. Sometimes it’s nice to hear comments on your writing from friends instead of professors you barely know. “I love that Writers’ Community allows me to gain feedback from my peers and learn from their writing as well. WC is a sort of creativity think-tank in that we play off each other’s ideas to help us all improve as writers,” senior WC member Cammie Finch said. With fun writing prompts and games that close out each meeting, Writers’ Community is a tight-knit group of people who all share a love for escaping to worlds more exciting than reality.

2. The Quidditch Team

To someone uninformed about the surprisingly complex politics of college Quidditch, the sport might seem like a half-baked imitation of the famous game from Harry Potter (without the attraction of flying). If you join the Quidditch team at U of M, you’re in for a magical world of competition—sure, it might not have the level of intensity or popularity of college football, but out on the pitch, things can get heated. After all, it’s a co-ed, full contact sport with no pads. “Most of us who play are self-proclaimed dorks, but also all played sports in high school and are super physically fit,” junior chaser Hannah Katshir said. Quidditch, in many ways, is just as physically taxing as most other sports at Michigan, even though the players’ run with an awkward gallop due to straddling brooms.

3. PAWS

Pets Are Wonderful Support, known as PAWS, is an animal welfare organization that will surely make you purr. In Ann Arbor, the group works with the Creature Conservancy and other agencies to volunteer and provide support to animals. Joining PAWS is a great way to make direct contact with animals “I could volunteer and feel like I was helping out in the community while also benefiting myself as an animal lover by being around them so often,” junior Ryan Gentil, a member, said. For animal lovers that are looking to get involved on a local level, flock to this herd!

4. Spoon University

For anyone interested in food, writing, photography or all of the above, Michigan’s chapter of Spoon University is the perfect club for you. Spoon is an online food magazine with chapters all over the country. If you have recipe ideas or want to write reviews of up-and-coming Ann Arbor restaurants, join Spoon as a writer. If you’re addicted to snapping shots of every meal you order, or just taking pictures in general, graduate from Instagram filters to the real deal and join Spoon as a photographer. “Not only is Spoon a chance to try your hand at writing articles and taking higher-quality photos than the average food-stagram, but it allows you to get your work to a national audience with the potential to go viral,” last year’s editor-in-chief of Spoon, senior Julia Liss, said. Joining Spoon looks great on your resume and lets you flex those writing and photography muscles in unique ways.

5. The Aughts

There are several great improv clubs on campus, like ComCo—the well-known group that frequently hosts shows in Angell Hall. Rather than putting stress on earning as many laughs as possible, the Aughts host private weekly meetings where members play simple team games to have fun in a non-competitive, low-stress way. The open and casual atmosphere will let you have fun without worrying about technical skill. “Anyone can come any week to hang out and play with us without the pressure of a performance environment,” president of the Aughts, junior Alex Boscolo, said.  For people interested in exploring improvisational comedy on a casual level, The Aughts is the perfect club.

6. What the F Magazine

What the F isn’t unheard of at Michigan; the magazine is distributed on a monthly basis and features tons of cool art to accompany its enlightening, often searing, feminist articles. What people don’t know is that What the F is open for any writers to broaden their horizons in writing and art. At What the F, members work to enlighten those who think feminism is about women’s superiority to men. “Feminism, at its core, works toward equality for everyone, regardless of sex, race, class, sexual orientation, etc. And that’s why we matter. Because that’s the movement we’re so passionate about,” senior editor Hannah Gordon said. Even if you’re not a writer but are interested in learning more about feminism and chatting with some cool people about social justice issues related to gender and sexuality, check out one of the casual What the F meetings.

Ben is a junior at the University of Michigan studying English and film. He has a long list of movies and TV to watch that he'll never finish.

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