Updated: Sep 12, 2019
For any students looking to become one with nature, the Backpacking Club is a great group on campus to help you get started in your quest. Created in 2017, the backpacking club has worked as an organization that allows students to easily participate in various backpacking trips at an affordable price.
“There were some groups that do hiking or climbing but no one who focused on backpacking. We thought about how the Johnson Center offered trips but they were very expensive. Our goal was kind of to provide a group that could come together and get to know other people interested and backpack at a low cost,” said Kate Clowes, co-president of the club.
The club rents gear from the Johnson Center before trips. Trips to the Red River Gorge are great for beginners, while longer trips to the Appalachian trail can be ideal from more experienced backpackers. For beginners who are interested, it is important to understand what all backpacking entails.
“With hiking, you might leave all your stuff in your car, go out to walk a trail for a day, then come back at the end. In backpacking, you’re going to take a big heavy duty backpack and carry all your supplies in it. It’s a little bit more of an outdoorsy and rustic experience in general,” Clowes said.
Cost for trips come down to gas and basic supplies you may need. Students can pick any trips they wish to participate in. Before each trip, a short informational meeting is normally held explaining more details on that route.
Mixing a blend of eastern and western dance forms, Kentucky Karana enters its third year as the only South Asian dance organization at the University of Kentucky. In 2016, current president Sneha Rajan teamed up with some friends to create a team that would later perform at competitions in North Carolina, Pittsburgh and Louisville. Before the team was created, students at UK did not have the opportunity to practice this type of dance on a club team.
“A lot of other big state schools have such a huge dance culture. Many kids from South Asian households have the opportunity to come to college and join that group to stay in touch with their heritage. We wanted there to be an outlet like that at UK as well,” Rajan said. The members of Kentucky Karana primarily practice eastern forms of dance, like Bharatanatyam, Bollywood and Bhangra. Western forms like hip-hop and modern are also incorporated. Even students who are just interested in learning more about South Asian arts should take a closer look at joining this club.
“You know no matter what is happening, whether it’s dance or school, you always have a group of people who will always have your back,” Rajan said.
There is a $50 membership fee and fundraising is done to raise money for additional costs like travel, costumes, hotel costs and competition registration fees. Practice is normally held on Tuesdays and Thursdays for two hours.
National organization Collegiate Curls made its entrance at the University of Kentucky in March 2018. While the club is fairly new at UK, it is a nationwide organization that works to empower minority students.
“The purpose of this club is uplift and support multicultural students through minority support services, hair and health education services and community outreach,” said Jeliah Logan, UK president of Collegiate Curls.
While the club has already grown from its first year, Logan still hopes to see Collegiate Curls blossom into a larger organization.
“One of my goals for this club would be to expand our membership,” Logan said. “Right now we have 34 members but I’m hoping to get at least 100 by the end of 2020.”
There is a $15 fee to join. Meetings are normally held monthly at the Martin Luther King Center, located inside the Gatton Student Center.
Mindfulness & Meditation Club
It’s no secret that college can be a stressful time. Whether your stress comes from long days, difficult course work or fear of an upcoming test, the Mindfulness and Meditation club will be a help to you. This club works as a support group for students who wish to take their minds off daily struggles. Club meetings can include a mix of mediation, discussion and, occasionally, yoga. “We meditate for about 15 to 25 minutes and then talk about mindfulness topics. We have a guided advisor, Lance Brunner, who comes here to help us through the meditation,” said Michelle Zhu, co-founder and vice president of the club.
With the help of William Kushner, club president, executive members have worked to create a supportive environment where all students can feel comfortable in discussion and self-expression.
“Frankly it’s just people with a shared mindset. Maybe we need to get away from the hyper-technology world. It’s a lot of people with ways of similar thinking so it’s a really good social group,” Kushner said.
The club is free to join and meetings are held on Tuesdays from 7 to 8 p.m. in the Lucille Caudill Little Fine Arts Library.
Story Written by Autumn Hassell