Fresh ideas bring fresh ways to be involved

By: Emily Janssen

This year students may see more disability advocacy, German culture, conservatism, hats and broomsticks on campus as groups of new student-lead organizations begin their first full year of existence.

Last year a host of new student organizations were created. Several of them are the Ripon College Quidditch Club, Young Americans for Freedom, The Disability, Rights, Education and Activism Movement (DREAM), Love Your Melon and German Club.

Ripon College Quidditch Club

The Ripon College Quiddtich Club is a group formed last year that aims to practice Muggle Quidditch, a version of the game from the “Harry Potter” books that does not require flying broomsticks.

“You have seven people on a team,” Vice President Emma Lemke said.

“Then someone who’s neutral—the Snitch,” President Becky Bajt said. “They get to run around and pretty much be the Snitch.”

There is some work that needs to happen in order to play Quidditch. “If you’re really interested in wanting to play you can’t just want to come down and play,” Lemke said. “…you need to practice, you need to be part of the team, but because people don’t really want to  practice we try to keep that short so that we can get to the fun part.”

“Our [goal] is to make it an intramural sport,” Bajt said.

Anyone who wants to learn to play can join the group. The group is also looking for people who want to be referees and announcers. Anyone interested in joining should contact Becky Bajt or Emma Lemke or go to the group’s Facebook page.

Young Americans for Freedom

Another new group is the Ripon College chapter of Young Americans for Freedom (YAF).

“Young Americans for Freedom provides conservative students with the necessary information, tools, and resources to effectively advance conservative ideas,” Vice Chairman Benjamin Wozniczka said. “We also act as an educational resource for people who want to know more about conservatism, the U.S. Constitution, and of course, freedom.”

“We are always accepting new members and we encourage students to attend our meetings to see what we are about,” Wozniczka said.

The group meets at 7 p.m. in the Pink Lounge of Scott Hall on the first and third Sundays of every month. Anyone who would like to join or to get on the email list should contact Benjamin Wozniczka or Willie Penterman.

The Disability, Rights, Education and Activism Movement

The Disability, Rights, Education and Activism Movement, or DREAM for short, was formed in the last few weeks of the Spring 2016 Semester.

“[DREAM] is a group that helps to address disability issues both on and off Ripon campus,” President Rachel Stanley said. “Our goal is to be both an advocacy group as well as a support group so we want to do a lot of education around disability events.”

“We also want to be a place for both disabled people and people who don’t identify as disabled or people who just have disabilities to life…for anyone to come and talk about those issues and have support,” Stanley said.

“When we talk about disability, we’re very broad and inclusive in our definition,” Stanley said. “…We like to call it the ‘Disability Umbrella.’…We include chronic illness,  mental illness, and learning disorders in that umbrella.”

“There are a lot of misconceptions about what disability is and what it means to be disabled,” Stanley said.

The group will be having its first meeting soon. Students interested in joining should go to the meeting, contact Rachel Stanley or visit DREAM’s Facebook page.

Love Your Melon

Love Your Melon was approved by Student Senate in October 2015. “Nationally,” McKenna Meza–president of the organization–said “our mission is to provide every child in the United States who is battling pediatric cancer with a hat that protects their head while they’re going through chemotherapy or radiation treatment.” Last year, an estimated 250,000 college students were involved in the organization nationwide.

Ripon College has a Love Your Melon club and a Love Your Melon crew. The crew consists of 20 members who visit children in hospitals and give them hats. The club is a larger group who supports the crew.

“Our main goal is to get the word out about who we are and what we do,” Meza said, “half the proceeds go to help buying the hats and making hats for the children with cancer.”

People interested in joining Love Your Melon can either come to a meeting or email McKenna Meza. Those interested in joining the crew will have to fill out an application, but those who want to join the club will not.

German Club

Another organization is German Club. “Our focus is to give students interested in Germany/German culture a way to express those passions,” President Allwin McDonald said. “Our events have the aim of teaching new and ‘exciting’ vocabulary to students, but even those without German knowledge are encouraged to attend […] This semester the focus is on German cuisine, holiday traditions, and film,”

One of the ways the group plans to do this is by attending the German Christmas Market in Chicago this Christmas.

Anyone interested in joining the club should contact a member of the group. The officers are Allwin McDonald (President), Alyssa Kollman (Vice-president), Dakota Winn (Secretary/Treasurer) and Elizabeth Rigden (Public Relations).

How to Start an Organization:

  1. Demonstrate adequate student interest

  2. Find a faculty or staff advisor

  3. Write a “Statement of Intent to Organize” and a constitution

  4. Submit this information to the Student Senate for voting