By Seth Mauzy
Arizona Daily Wildcat
August 26, 2005
Between the poster sales, booths and screaming preachers on the UA Mall are hundreds of clubs looking to get students connected to campus.
"We're just out here trying to let people know we exist and get students interested in joining," said Jordan Jacobs, a member of the Formula Society of Automotive Engineers club, one of the 500 active campus organizations and clubs.
Formula SAE came to the Mall fully equipped with their own miniature Formula One racer that Jacobs, a business sophomore, and the rest of the club designed and built.
Students can join clubs ranging from department-oriented interests like math or accounting to special interests such as surfing, video games and lying in hammocks.
If you can't seem to find a club that suits you, however, it isn't too late to start one yourself.
According to the Student Organization Handbook, all a student needs to start their own club is two students (one to act as president and another as treasurer) who can agree on a constitution outlining the club's goals and their adherence to university policy.
All clubs are also required to select a faculty adviser, which is a full-time faculty or staff member, who agrees to act as a mentor and help with club functions.
"Advisers are there to attend meetings and offer guidance and leadership to the club," said Heather Gasser, faculty adviser for the BabyCats, a club for UA students who are also parents.
When choosing an adviser, it is important to find someone who is in touch with the club's issues, said Gasser, senior coordinator of Commuter Student Affairs.
"Look for someone passionate about your subject," Gasser said. "It's also important to find someone as interested in attending your meetings as your members are."
Selecting a responsible and accessible club treasurer is also important, said Tawfik Maudah, president of the debate club.
"You need a treasurer that you can get a hold of at any moment," said Maudah, a philosophy senior. "Their signature is necessary in order to get money for club activities. The same goes for your adviser."
Funding for clubs comes from a variety of sources, including vendor fairs held each semester, the Associated Students of the University of Arizona and the Corporate Grant Program, which is sponsored by local businesses.
The cost of operating a club can vary depending on the number of members and how active the club is, said Bonnie Arriaga, spokeswoman for the Center for Student Involvement, which handles all officially recognized clubs on campus.
"We have over 500 clubs, and some don't really need any money to operate," Arriaga said. "Others have a lot of events and host fund raisers to cover some of their costs."
Campus clubs are encouraged to meet on a regular basis. Meeting spaces and a host of other useful resources are available at the Center for Student Involvement in the Student Union Memorial Center.
"We have space in the union that clubs can meet in, as well as phones, lockers; just about anything clubs may need," Arriaga said.
The center also offers support of a less-tangible nature, including tips on budgeting and leadership, and help organizing fund-raisers and field trips, Arriaga said.