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Chemeketa clubs provide community, camaraderie

Members of the Philosophy Club debate moral issues.

Members of the Philosophy Club debate moral issues.

By Ian Gerig – Photo by Alvin Wilson

When the words college and clubs are combined, the mind immediately conjures up a scene of strobe lights, alcohol, and rave music.

It’s an image that is none too beneficial to the college experience.

However, there is another type of club that not only provides a valuable social outlet for its members but also helps prepare them for the world outside.

The subject? Whatever you want it to be.

From board games to astronomy to wine studies, about 40 clubs at Chemeketa provide members with an opportunity to explore their interests, their hobbies, and themselves while creating new friends in the process.

Adam Holden, Chemeketa’s civic engagement coordinator, said that in addition to the 30 or so Salem campus clubs that have turned in paperwork, another six to eight have registered at the Yamhill campus, along with at least one in Woodburn and one or two in Brooks.

“They make the school a more desirable place to come,” he said.

According to Holden, the clubs do more than enhance campus life. The student-ran organizations also offer tremendous benefits to their members, starting with social belonging.

“You find people of a common interest who you feel like you can go to for support, as well as learning new things,” Holden said.

“You’re learning leadership skills; you might learn community partnership skills. There’s all sorts of real-world skills that you’re learning from experience, in real life, not in a classroom.”

Chemeketa clubs do not pay a registration fee and are free for students to form.

Each club also receives $50 from the school to help offset any costs that the club may incur.

The requirements are simple.

“You just have to get 10 students and an adviser on the faculty or staff,” Holden said. “And you have to write a club constitution that states a club purpose, when you meet, officers, and the rules that will govern your club.”

Hundreds of different clubs have been formed at Chemeketa through the years, including the now month-old Video Game Club.

Morgan Bartelmez-Forster, a Chemeketa student and founding member, said he’d already enjoyed spending time with this new social circle.

“We’re kind of disorganized right now since we just started,” he said. “But we want to have it so that each day we play a different system: PS3 one day, Wii the next, etc. … We formed it just because it sounded fun.”

While the Video Game Club centers on a hobby, some students form clubs that relate directly to the classes they are enrolled in.

“We’re more of a test run right now,” Zach Geer, a junior at Chemeketa and member of the as-yet unofficial Philosophy Club said.

“We expected more people to show up, but it’s fun getting to dive deeper into topics and getting opinions from different people.”

While many students are nervous or reticent about joining a club, Holden said that most allow you to test the waters of membership without commitment.

“A lot of people could join an existing club just to see what the club is doing,” he said.

“We’re more afraid of our capabilities, and so people are afraid of putting themselves out there. Be fearless, give it a chance. A lot of people, once they step in, find the benefits in it.”

For questions on how to start or reactivate a club as well as checklists, policies, and forms for daily club operations, e-mail Holden at or call at 503-365-4764.

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