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Explosion of new clubs on campus

Photo by Frances Sarcona

The fall Mills College ASMC Explosion earned its name last week when 13 new campus organizations joined pre-existing ones to squeeze their booths into an Adams Plaza bursting with colorful handmade signs, red and white balloons, and proactive students.

The new student clubs, reflecting a variety of interests and causes, skyrocketed the number of student organizations registered this semester from 28 to 41, according to a list provided by Alexis Bucknam, coordinator for student involvement.

Among the new clubs tabling the explosion, one had a particularly large sign-up list. Katrina: Relief, Rebuild, Recover was organized just weeks ago in an effort to support grassroots organizing on the ground in New Orleans and keep awareness about the effects of the hurricane high on campus, according to club member Martha Braithwaite, a senior public policy major.

"The key piece we're trying to keep in mind," said Leah Herrera, a junior math major, "is what the hurricane revealed: the poverty and the inequality that exists in New Orleans and elsewhere."

Another group that attracted student activists was A.N.I.M.A.L., organized to facilitate animal rights activism alongside fun-oriented events, according to member Betty Groves, a senior bio-psych major. Groves said she started the organization for "people who are animal lovers and care about animal rights or even just learning about animals."

Located a couple of booths down from A.N.I.M.A.L. was Mills Catalyst, an organization that founder sophomore Kate Swartz said, "allows Mills women to process our problems with the school and figure out how to get the right resources to get our needs met." Swartz said she started the group this semester after seeing "how many students seek change but find themselves without the proper medium," adding, "We want to create that medium. Catalyst wants to make that change."

While some new clubs were organized for the purpose of education and action, others were created to support students' educational and career goals. Jamila Williams, a sophomore business and economics major, is a member of the new Economics Club. "It's helpful for women in economics majors to have a support system," Williams said.

Although not new this semester, the Native American Sisterhood Alliance has been rekindled from a near-dormant state. According to sophomore and ethnic studies major Morning Star Gali, the group went from only two members last year to seven this semester. "When I considered going here I looked online to see if there was a native presence, and it didn't look like there was a club, so I was really happy to find others trying to unite as a community," Gali said.

Other new student organizations include a bicycling club called Cycling Cyclones, an afternoon tea club named InsaniTEA, the aptly-titled Farsi Club to encourage learning and speaking Farsi, a Horror Movie club, a Billiards Club and Dumbledore's Army.