While Anderson University is home to many Christian students with passions for serving others, sometimes it can be difficult to find vehicles by which to make a difference in the community.
The six active social clubs at AU through the Student Life Department participate in service opportunities each year. Each club reaches out in unique ways to connect with and serve people in the community. Novus Dux, Dativus, and Avanti Boosters are the men’s social clubs, while L’amifidel, Camarada, and Alacritas serve for women on campus.
"There is a sense of belonging that is created among the various clubs where many life-long friendships are developed through weekly meetings and activities," said Brent Baker, vice president for student life and dean of students. "The social clubs also provide service to our AU community through events and benefits of various kinds."
Junior Adam Tindall is the Teetering for Tots (TFT) officer for the all-male social club Novus Dux. Each year, toward the end of the spring semester, Novus Dux coordinates a four-day fundraiser, Teetering for Tots. The club sets up a large tent on campus near the Fine Arts building with a giant teeter-totter inside. For 96 hours, the men of the club take shifts riding the teeter-totter to raise money and awareness for some local organization. The organization of choice usually aims to aid children, hence the fundraiser’s title.
However, last spring, TFT chose to raise money for Exodus House. “Exodus House is a halfway house that gives residents opportunities to be an active part of the Anderson community and stay off the streets,” said Tindall. Exodus House staffs two current AU students, Ben Orcutt and Isaac Horwedel, and AU alumnus Steve Sipka.
The majority of the time in the tent was spent lounging on couches during the day, playing video games in the early morning hours and, of course, teetering up and down.
“Someone is here all day while students are in class and someone is here all night while students are sleeping,” said Tindall. The fundraiser relies on the special evening events each night. These consisted of a Battle of the Bands, a video game tournament, a special Game Show night, and a dance party.
The Game Show night was run by L’amifidel, the sister social club of Novus Dux. The women raised money from the evening to donate to Alternatives, Inc., a local safe house for threatened women and children.
“I think this city really needs our campus,” said Tindall. Camarada Kidz Jamboree (KJam) officer Mandi Hand agrees. “This is a hurting city and the more we help, the more we bridge the gap,” she said. “Then we can all feel welcome in this place.” Camarada is another women’s social club on campus that reaches out to children each spring semester.
Kidz Jamboree (formerly known as Praisefest) is a kids’ carnival that Camarada organizes for the Anderson community children. “The purpose is to give them a fun, safe place to come and enjoy themselves for free,” said Hand. The Kidz Jamboree themes are meant to be enjoyable for the children, but always incorporate learning.”
Last academic year, the KJam theme was “Holiday Mania.” Each booth represented a different month of the year with different activities that related to the holidays in each month.
The carnival makes an impact not only on the community but also the women who interact with the children that day. “Last year I volunteered at the finger-painting station,” said Hand. “It was fun to interact with the children, but also with the parents as the kids made their creations.” The women of Camarada experienced gratitude first hand, a different experience from fundraising alone.
Baker added that the department of student life has the opportunity to support social clubs through all club training, through our work with SGA (who has a direct connection to the social clubs) and as a resource to help each be successful in getting things done around campus.
Interest Week for the 2010-11 academic year begins the week of Sept. 6. This week is designated at the beginning of each semester for social clubs to solicit members. During this time, clubs hold social functions to acquaint interested students with the purpose, goals and membership of each club.
After interest week, social clubs observe Silent Days when persuasion of prospective members is forbidden by agreement of the clubs. Interested parties apply for club membership through the student life department.
Recruitment Week starts this Sept. 15 where clubs invite students from their lists of applicants to join their clubs. Clubs are allowed to have activities for prospective members within boundaries set by student life.
"Student Life, as a department, is a strong proponent of social clubs. When they are successful, the whole campus benefits," said Baker.
Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,700 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson continues to be recognized as a top Christian college: in 2010, U.S. News and World Report ranked Anderson University among the best colleges and universities in the Midwest for the seventh consecutive year. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, education, music, nursing and theology.