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American Studies club awaits official status

Emily Schrank | Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Although Notre Dame’s Department of American Studies has been in existence for nearly 40 years, the American Studies club is a recent addition to the University.

The club, still waiting for official recognition from the Student Activities Office (SAO), began the initial formation process last semester, according to Jason Ruiz, assistant professor of American Studies. 

“The department hopes to help form a community among the American Studies majors,” he said. “That is really our goal in sponsoring the club.”  
Ruiz said the students who founded the club were looking for a way to enrich the meaning of their major. 
“The club will give members an opportunity to meet their fellow students, as well as professors, outside of the classroom and in a more relaxed setting,” he said. “And if that isn’t enough, we’ll also be making t-shirts because, apparently, Notre Dame students love t-shirts.”
Senior Cynthia Curley, one of the club’s founders, said her primary motivation in starting the club was to get young majors involved in the American Studies community on both an academic and social level. 
“Beyond bringing all the majors together, we wanted to bring American Studies to the rest of Notre Dame,” she said. “We study the complexities of the American identity, or identities, and it’s really challenging and enlightening.”
Junior Amanda Johnson, acting vice president of the club, said once the club is officially established, the members hope to sponsor at least one event each month. Possible events include film screenings, movie nights and field trips. According to Johnson, plans for a trip to the Chicago Art Institute are currently underway.
“We want to make sure people know what American Studies is and increase the presence of American Studies as a major on campus,” she said.
Although the club currently consists of only American Studies majors, non-majors are certainly welcome, Johnson said. 
“Hopefully we’ll be granted the status of an official student organization by April, and then things can really get started,” she said. 
The club’s first trivia night, hosted by the Department of American Studies, will take place March 18 from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Alexander’s Grill in South Bend. 
Students interested in joining the American Studies club should contact Ruiz.