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Multi-campus clubs increase

Ashley Dyer | Friday, October 10, 2003

The number of clubs and the diversity of their missions seem to be expanding every day among the Saint Mary’s, Holy Cross and Notre Dame campuses. Various clubs exist on two of the three campuses, but more and more students are in the process of formulating clubs that accent and expand club selection offered.

Often, clubs that extend between two of the campuses remain somewhat similar to each other in mission and content. In fact, two unofficial clubs developing at Notre Dame, known as “Feminist Voice” and “OutReachND” say they hope that next semester their applications for official recognition, which mirror Saint Mary’s newly-established Feminist United and Sexuality Support Group organizations are approved.

The question remains why certain groups have been established on one campus and not granted club recognition on another. All three colleges stem from a Catholic belief system of education and campus life. Each individual institution, however, holds the right to determine what the college will and will not allow. Even though the three colleges are often lumped together under the umbrella of the Holy Cross community, they act as separate institutions.

Applying for club recognition at Saint Mary’s consists of picking up an application at Student Activities, obtaining approval from the Board of Governance’s Club Commissioner and ushering the application through BOG for debate and approval. Notre Dame requires would-be clubs to go through a similar process, with the application moving through the Club Coordination Council in order to be approved.

Presently, the CCC at Notre Dame is in the process of revising current standards to garner a higher rate of club approval into the sponsorship of Student Activities. There has been an influx of 300 total groups that have applied for club status this year at Notre Dame alone. Consequently, the CCC has put a hold on all applications until new standards have been drafted, which is predicted to be determined by January.

“The case presently is that the CCC is revamping its standards due to the dramatic increase in the number of clubs which have applied for official university recognition,” said Heather M. Rakoczy, faculty advisor for the Feminist Voice.

Nonetheless, members and advisors of the developing groups on the ND campus said they are in high spirits regardless of the delay. Rakoczy said she was told that Feminist Voice would more than likely be approved in January 2004, at which time it will be officially recognized as a club.

Mayra Gomez, president and founder of the developing Feminist Voice, feels that club recognition will allow for awareness and education as to what feminism is in terms of gender, class and race across the Notre Dame campus.

“As the Feminist Voice, we hope to focus on feminist issues on the community level while working our way to bring awareness of feminist issues on a national level,” she said.

Group members from Saint Mary’s Feminists United and Feminist Voice have been crossing channels until club status at Notre Dame is granted for the latter. Once Feminist Voice is recognized, the groups say they hope to work together in establishing awareness on all three campuses.

OutReachND has also been seeking club recognition in order to utilize the advertising channels that go along with such official status in spreading awareness to the student body. The group, already affiliated with the faculty-run Standing Committee for Gay and Lesbian Student Needs, said it hopes club recognition will bring more awareness to Notre Dame in respect to sexuality issues.

“We feel it is necessary to be recognized by the administration as a club to create visibility on campus,” said Janeka Joyce, co-chair of OutReachND.

Joyce said she feels club recognition will build and broaden support systems linked to education about various sexuality issues between students and faculty.

Already this year at Saint Mary’s, faculty/student rapport has been building in order to spread sexuality awareness on the campus.

PINS, a faculty support group similar to the Standing Committee at Notre Dame, planned this week to begin dialogue on sexuality issues through films and speakers. PINS has worked alongside student groups Feminist United and the Sexuality Support Group as a precursor to National Coming Out Day on Oct. 11.