All William & Mary students carry a little bit of TWAMP in them—overworked, stressed out and hyper-focused on their studies. We have a reputation for being nerds, but what people don’t get is that being a nerd requires a ridiculous amount of passion. Sometimes that passion funnels itself in ridiculous directions.
Here are some of the quirkiest and most interesting clubs the William & Mary student body has to offer.
1. CHEESE CLUB
How many people really love cheese? Well, according to the Facebook page for the William & Mary Cheese Club, at least 200 people love cheese enough to join a club dedicated solely to it. The Cheese Club was founded five years ago in a freshman hall when a group of friends got together to do what they love— eat cheese. It quickly swelled into a huge organization that’s even affiliated with The Cheese Shop in Colonial Williamsburg. “My favorite thing that I’ve done with the Cheese Club has to be Cheese Fest! We have really cool stuff like trivia (about cheese, obviously) where you can win prizes and games,” said senior Sydney DeBoer.
2. BLACKSMITHING GUILD
Living on the edges of Colonial Williamsburg lets students embrace their love for history and art. Several blacksmiths work in the historic part of Williamsburg, practicing and maintaining 200-year-old blacksmithing techniques. But, on the campus itself exists the Blacksmithing Guild, a group of students who share an interest in learning the art of smithing. Each week, they meet up and share tricks they’ve learned among each other, teaching any newbies who happen to pop inside. Can you imagine how cool it’d be to brag about your awesome blacksmithing skills on your next blind date?
3. HARRY POTTER CLUB(S)
Last year, William & Mary hosted the Triwizard Tournament complete with butterbeer, Harry Potter trivia and two escape rooms designed like the Tasks. That level of intensity says a lot about the kind of people who go to W&M: Creative, fun-loving and maybe a little too passionate about Harry Potter. So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that there’s not one but two Harry Potter-based clubs—Wizards and Muggles, a Harry Potter appreciation club and the William and Mary Quidditch team. “It’s thrilling to stand in a building as old and Hogwarts-y as Wren Hall, have your name called out, and be welcomed into your House with excited cheers and table banging,” said senior Charlotte DeForest. Whether the friendships you make are in-House or inter-House, when you’re part of a club founded entirely on shared love, it’s not hard to find new friends.
4. YIS: TOLKIEN SOCIETY AT WILLIAM & MARY
Speak, friend, and enter—if you’re a fan of the Lord of the Rings, that is. Yomeniëva I Síma is the official name of William & Mary’s recently established Tolkien Society, started in 2013 by students in William & Mary’s Tolkien class. Soon to be the school’s chapter of the international Tolkien Society, members meet regularly to discuss the works, with Tolkien-themed events and some prime Tolkien memes on their Facebook page.
5. KNITTING CLUB
With a school as intensely academic as William & Mary, lots of students build up stress. So, welcome to the Knitting Club and Knot Your Granny’s Yarn Club— something for people who enjoy knitting and other yarn arts such as crocheting to create fun projects and provide stress relief. “It’s a quirky collection of people who are all gathered together to learn a fun skill. Everyone helps each other figure out how to knit even if they might not have interacted outside of that atmosphere around campus,” said sophomore Hannah Keith. The Knot Your Granny’s Yarn Club also works on projects that get sent to charities on every level— from women and children’s shelters to refugee camps.
6. CASUAL MAGIC
Despite what it sounds like, the Casual Magic Club does not contain actual wizards. They just play them sometimes when they get together and play “Magic: The Gathering.” Open to all kinds of players, beginners or experienced, hardcore or casual, the Casual Magic clubs have events each week where they meet up to play and discuss the game. They always welcome new members, who find it just as easy to learn the rules of the game as it is to become part of the club. “We are a lot more tight-knit than a lot of other clubs. Everyone knows everyone else, and new members are integrated into that pretty quickly,” said senior Cullen Rombach.
7. TEA SOCIETY
It’s pretty obvious by now, but William and Mary creates a haven for people to pursue some very specific interests. The Tea Society is a club that, like the Cheese Club, was founded by a group of friends who loved tea, deciding to meet up to appreciate the hot comfort drink together once a week. “We drink different varieties of tea each week and snack on baked goods and finger sandwiches while discussing just about everything under the sun,” said sophomore Caroline Spurr. Honestly, what sounds better than that?
8. NERF GAMES
All of us loved playing with water guns and nerf guns as children. Many never really outgrow it. The Nerf Games club embraces empty academic buildings as terrain for some fierce battles, a perfect antidote to the mounting stress of life. “We offer an inclusive, fun and exciting experience to anyone who wants to show up—you don’t need to bring anything or know anything, you can just come and we’ll teach you how to play and make you feel welcome,” said junior Cal Ritterhoff.
9. BROKEN RECORD LARP
Role Playing Game fans, fantasy enthusiasts, theater folk or just about anyone who enjoys a good virtual reality can find common ground in the Broken Record Live Action Role Playing. Broken Record brings LARP games based on Vampire: The Masquerade or Mind’s Eye Theatre to life every two weeks on the first and third Saturdays of the month in Blair Hall. Whether you call yourself a newbie or a seasoned veteran, Broken Record LARP lets you create your own character within the game in a session before it actually starts, making it easy to join in the fun.
10. THE GRIFFIN FECHTSCHULE
Being near Colonial Williamsburg surrounds you with history, history and more history. There’s no shortage of students who love history, but some take it even further. They take that love, mix it with our obsession with Game of Thrones, add a dash of enduring fascination of pointy things and you have the Griffin Fechtschule. The group is dedicated to studying period fighting techniques, specifically Medieval- and Renaissance-era European martial arts. “The first time you actually get up to spar against someone is a huge rush,” said graduate Bill Stergios. “It’s just like a friendly duel to the death.”