The University of Oregon’s student groups have fostered a community of students who wish to explore their interests outside of the classroom for years. After hours, the UO campus is filled with many clubs hosting meetings in order to learn from one another, socialize, create, indulge in shared curiosities and come together with a common interest. With 211 ASUO-sponsored student organizations, 88 Center for Student Involvement-registered student organizations, 56 different categories of student organizations and 41 club sports, there is an abundance of ways to get involved in extracurriculars.
Some of the categories include: cultural, academic, volunteering, political, departmental, co-ed sports, LGBTQ, and greek life. Many of these groups are entirely student led and most even have faculty member to support them, foster an educational environment and to offer advice. Some groups grew from an idea of creating a community surrounding a niche interest and others blossomed from a group of students passionate about something they believed in. Here is a breakdown of a few of the Emerald’s key student groups on campus:
Women in Creative Industries
Women in Creative Industries is a group dedicated to giving women who are interested in creative-based industries at UO a safe space to meet one another, learn from influential guest speakers and to participate in hands-on workshops to further their knowledge in a range of subjects. “Our club embodies a mix of women empowerment, creative thinking and skill development,” a WICI representative said in an email. The club is completely new to UO, as their first term will be this fall. While they are focused on bringing women from creative industries such as journalism, design, public relations, advertising and business, the club invites women from any major who are interested in exploring creative subjects. They already have a list of upcoming workshops that include logo design, photoshop mood board making, sustainable fashion and vision boards. Their first meeting of the year is on Oct. 29 in Lillis 175 at 6 p.m. to welcome new members and explore “Hopes and Dreams.”
Art History Student Association
The Art History Student Association opens up the opportunity for those who are interested in the history of visual arts to explore their talents within the art community, regardless of their major. Through trips to exhibits and monuments at local and regional art institutions, they provide students with the opportunity to explore their interests outside of campus life. They also put on a self-run symposium to allow undergraduate and graduate students from across the country to meet, discuss art and display their own work. Each year, they also invite a prominent art historian to speak at their symposium to share advice and their experience in the industry. Throughout the year, they offer opportunities for students to cultivate their knowledge of the arts and to teach curatorial skills to utilize in their future. While their main groups of interest come from those in the Department of Art History and the School of Architecture and Allied Arts, they also reach out campus-wide to anyone who carries an interest in the arts and wishes to be more involved.
African Student Association
The African Student Association works year round to bring a piece of African culture to the UO campus. The club not only gives those of African descent a home away from home, but also exposes students to African cultures by allowing them to learn from informative events. They work to promote cultural awareness, appreciation for Africa and its people and to foster an environment that supports students’ professional and academic endeavors. They host weekly meetings year-round on Mondays from 6 to 7 p.m. in Lillis 175, where students can meet both other Africans and African allies and participate in lively discussions about African culture, politics and people. They also host entertaining events throughout the year as a celebration of African culture, such as Africa Night in spring term, A Taste of Africa, and annual cooking nights to learn African recipes.
Absolute Improv is the one and only improv group at UO and has been bringing laughs to campus for nearly 29 years. Each year, Absolute Improv comes together to provide a space for anyone and everyone on the UO campus and beyond to get involved in the improv world. “The things we contribute here on campus range from doing a free improv show each term, booked gigs and open rehearsals every Sunday. Our opens are our way of reaching out to the community and allowing them to get goofy with us,” said Gabby Socolofsky, the group’s internal executive. Every winter, they also participate in the College Improv Tournament that allows everyone involved to put their talents learned within the group to the test. Their fall-term open rehearsal schedule was just released, and each Sunday for the rest of the term holds a new topic to attempt including, “Crazy Sock Day” and “Absurdism.” They meet for their regular rehearsals every Tuesday and Friday from 4 to 6 p.m. in Villard 104.
The LGBTQA3 Student Alliance provides a space for all students who identify with the LGBTQIA+ community to find resources and a community on campus. Their office is right in the center of campus in the Erb Memorial Union Room 022 and provides students with a safe environment that is inclusive to all gender identities, sexual orientations and expressions on campus. “The LGBTQA3 works year-round to put on Queer and Trans-focused events, including yearly events such as a Coming Out Festival, Queer Prom and Drag Shows. You will find this student group at their weekly general meetings Thursday at 6 p.m. and during regular office hours in their space in the EMU,” said the LGBTQA3 Student Alliance via email. They are a student-led group that strives for a world free of homophobia, heterosexism and gender bias. They are an open resource for all queer members of UO and Eugene communities by supplying a place of support, education and resources.
Whether you are a competitive athlete or someone who just put on a pair of running shoes, UO Triathlon accepts anyone who is interested in the multisport event and willing to get out of their comfort zone. Combining three different sports, UO’s Triathlon team is a very diverse group of talented athletes. Triathlon competitions include swimming, biking and running, with competitions taking athletes all over Oregon and even into Arizona, California and British Columbia, Canada. All current UO students are welcome to join in on their weekly practices on campus that take place on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Each day is dedicated to a different aspect of the triathlon experience; for instance, the weekend practices are dedicated to cycling, Mondays are for running, Wednesdays are strength focused and Fridays combine swimming and core. Triathlon club allows athletes to explore their athletic abilities while making friends along the way. “We eat, sleep, travel, train and race together. We see each other at our best and given how grueling the sport is, certainly at our worst,”William Sooter, a team member and the group’s treasurer, said of the club’s dynamic. They practice year round and compete throughout spring term starting in April until their last competition in June taking place in Dunes City, Oregon.
University Film Organization
The science behind film and video production is constantly evolving with the times and the University Film Organization here at UO continues to do the same. The organization was first established in 2006, and since their beginning, they have been bringing filmmakers from across the UO campus together. UFO gives student filmmakers the opportunity to learn from one another, discuss the sciences and arts behind film production and to create a community among students and faculty that are intrigued by filmmaking and are ready to create. Together they have created a network of communication between students and faculty for those who wish to pursue a career in film making and production. They encourage people to come out from any major or level of talent in the industry to learn and expand their abilities. “Our plan this year is to follow the flow of film production each week, with fall meetings focusing on pre-production and equipment training, where we’ll then go into the student-led and produced short films in the winter and spring,” president Victoria Dinges said in an interview. At the end of spring term, they put on a film festival to display all of the films produced and created by their organization’s members. The group meets every Tuesday at 7 p.m. in Straub 254.
The clubs at UO give students the opportunity to try new things, make new friends and explore their interests. With a multitude of different groups and opportunities on and off campus, student groups are a chance to get involved at UO outside of the traditional day to day class life.