A diverse batch of new student groups has popped up on campus this semester, joining more than 200 organizations that represent a broad spectrum of interests.
The Student Activities Center does not keep records that distinguish new student groups from ones that have registered in the past, but a comparison of last year’s student group database with this year’s list showed more than 40 new groups have registered or are in the process of registering this year.
The new organizations include such diverse interests as an association to promote cultural awareness in medical practices to a club named after a string of British comedies.
The American Islamic Medical Association was founded to give academic support to pre-med and medical students and to provide opportunities for community service in Islamic settings, said founding member Sabina Siddiqui.
Siddiqui said the organization has planned discussion groups and a lecture to raise awareness about cultural differences that arise when people are in poor health. The association is planning an event in November with a guest lecture by a Ph.D. candidate from Howard University who specializes in genetics and Muslim studies.
“My grandfather had a heart attack this summer and another member of the group had a family member hospitalized with breast cancer,” Siddiqui said. “It enabled us to see the lack of training that medical professionals have in (spiritual) areas.
“As a medical professional, you have to be able to communicate inter-culturally and understand different cultures’ views on medical issues,” she said.
Agnieszka Twarog said she has been pleasantly surprised with the response to the Friends of Poland club, particularly in the number of people of non-Polish heritage who have expressed interest in the club.
Twarog said the club, which charges dues to support itself, has about 40 members, but attendance at the movie nights the group has sponsored, featuring Polish films with English subtitles, has been much larger.
“We estimated 25 to 30 people would attend, but at the last one it was much more,” Twarog said. “We had to bring in extra chairs, and even then people were standing.”
Route 66 was formed by a group of students who went on a road trip to New York City earlier this semester.
Anthony Rizzuto, director of transportation for the club, said the club was formed to give people an opportunity to get off campus and explore other areas of the country.
Rizzuto compares the club to an urban Campus Outdoor Recreation Enthusiasts, a GW student organization that plans outdoor activities for students. The first official trip Route 66 has planned is a day trip to New York City Saturday.
Rizzuto said the name of the club, Route 66, was inspired by a major route out of D.C.
“It is obviously a route you take to get out of D.C. and a route lots of people take when they go on road trips, so it seemed like a good name for our club,” he said.
Freshman Chad Frischmann founded Sir Monty and the Nights of Python in honor of Monty Python. Although the group is not fully registered with SAC yet, Frischmann said about 15 people are interested in joining. He said he hopes more students will be interested after the group is fully registered and can advertise.
“We basically are going to hang out, watch movies, maybe have a few parties,” Frischmann said. “Nothing too serious.”