Over 98,000 students bustle through Penn State’s hallways, and that’s just at the main campus alone. With such an expansive student body, it’s easy to fall through the cracks. But here at Penn State, whether you’re a die-hard Disney fanboy or a Roquefort cheese fetishist, there’s a place for you here. Freshmen dropped into the huge melting pot of a large university can take a while to find their niche on campus. Instead of sifting through thousands of personalities for potential friends, speed up the process by joining any one of PSU’s hundreds of student organizations. Here’s a listing of eight awesome groups that are always looking for new members.
As a species, honeybees are one of the most important contributors to the ecosystem. They pollinate over $20 billion worth of crops annually and without them, Americans couldn’t eat the 285 million pounds of honey we do every year. And yet when most of us see a bee, we’re quick to swat it away. If you’re the type who appreciates all the helpful work bees do and would love to learn more about them first-hand, then Penn State’s official Beekeepers Club is right for you. The club’s main goal is to raise awareness for the rapidly declining bee population –– a perfect companion for Penn State’s new Beekeeping 101 class.
“We don’t have much to do this time of year. Beekeeping activities are dying down with the colder weather,” club president Victoria Triolo said. “However, once things pick up again in the spring, we are aiming to try and establish our own club hives on campus… Many of our members have amazingly extensive experience with beekeeping, while others are completely new to the hobby and have never worked with honeybees before in any capacity.”
Dedicated to the water-breathers on campus, the Nittany Divers is the only student-run organization dedicated wholly to scuba adventuring. The club meets only twice a month, but they travel often to nearby gorges, quarries and other waterways for club-sponsored dive trips. This year, the club has planned longer trips to Lake Erie and North Carolina.
Prefer the feel of solid earth? The Nittany Grotto Caving Club takes bi-weekly trips to local caves. Anyone is welcome to tag along, even inexperienced spelunkers, as long as you attend a meeting prior to the trip. Personally, my crippling claustrophobia prevents me from engaging in subterranean activities, but those with an adventurous spirit and a love for dark, damp, confined spaces will have a blast caving with this group for sport.
Geared toward all you head-banging, glowstick-waving dance enthusiasts, Penn State’s EDM Club loves everything to do with electronic dance music. Their mission: to bring together the dance community and provide support for local artists. Over 1,600 students have joined their Facebook group, and collectively they strive to change the stigma placed upon EDM culture. It’s not about parachuting ecstasy; it’s about relishing music-induced euphoria in a free atmosphere.
With over 300 members the Mouse Ears Club boasts one of the largest student rosters, and there is no shame in their Disney game. “My friend and I were bored one day and realized that there was no Disney-related club on campus, so we figured why not start one?” said club president Rachel Alshefski. “At our meetings we play Disney trivia, Disney charades, and Disney themed scavenger hunts. We also have a Disney Halloween costume party planned.” The club is open to anyone interested in joining, and with a fee of only $10 that includes a T-shirt, there’s no good reason not to join. “We also have plans to visit The Hershey Children’s Medical Center and do Disney crafts and games with the kids,” Alshefski said.
3. Cheese Club
Does the taste of aged feta tickle your fancy? Do you get off to the sharpness of a fresh cheddar block? Do you even know what gruyere is? If you do, you should consider joining Penn State’s very own Cheese Club, dedicated to learning about and tasting everyone’s favorite dairy product. While they do offer samples at every meeting, the club’s main focus is to highlight the food science behind manufacturing cheese.
From reconstructing delicate bodily structures to manufacturing prosthetic limbs, 3D printing is a rapidly developing technology with a wide range of beneficial uses. Club members practice constructing models out of varying materials, and also learn how to build their own 3D printers. “As a club we do a lot of working building open source printers from scratch, particularly RepRaps, which includes repairing and upgrading them through several design iterations,” said president Taylor Hornung. “Of course we also facilitate any projects that members are currently working on for personal use, like building a robot for fun.”
One of their major events is the 12-hour Print-a-Thon, when all of the members come together to socialize, play video games, share food and 3D print (duh).
1. Lunar Lions
One of the most ambitious organizations at Penn State, Lunar Lion’s ultimate goal is to land a spacecraft on the Moon by 2015. They’re a compilation of students, faculty and engineers competing in the Google Lunar XPRIZE, a global space competition in which challengers must successfully land on the Moon’s surface while relaying images and data. With next year’s deadline looming, the hard-working Lunar Lion team continues to affirm Penn State’s top-notch academic standard.