LEGO Club builds community through creativity, events
Anna Hurt | Tuesday, March 3, 2020
When the LEGO Club at Notre Dame talks about building community, they mean it literally.
With over 35,000 plastic bricks and a group of students passionate about constructing sculptures of all shapes and sizes, the club allows for students to combine creativity with engineering and architectural skills.
Junior Colleen O’Leary discovered the LEGO Club at Notre Dame during the activities fair her freshman year.
“During the club fair, I saw a video of some students building a mural of the Notre Dame leprechaun,” O’Leary said in an email. “I thought that I absolutely had to be a part of it and signed up.”
Now O’Leary is serving as secretary of the club for her third year in a row, and the LEGO Club is still constantly growing. O’Leary said her favorite part of being in the club is meeting new people and making friends from different backgrounds and interests.
“The club has been a great outlet to meet people of different majors and years and throughout the greater Notre Dame community,” O’Leary said.
The LEGO Club was founded four years ago by senior Colin Whelpley and his friends in Stanford Hall. A mechanical engineering major, Whelpley said LEGOs were the reason he decided to pursue a career as an engineer, but recognized that a LEGO Club would be popular for students in a variety of different majors and programs. The only LEGO pieces the club had at first were the ones that Whelpley had brought from home.
“When I came to ND, I was surprised that with the diversity of clubs available, there was not already a LEGO Club on campus,” Whelpley said in an email.
Although the LEGO Club had humble beginnings, in the last four years it has grown substantially.
“The primary goals of the club were to unite LEGO fans and promote LEGO as a creative medium across campus and to the broader South Bend community,” Whelpley said.
The club shares its love of LEGO through its events for both Notre Dame students and children living in the greater South Bend area. This past weekend, the LEGO Club hosted one of its largest events of the year in Duncan Student Center.
“We teamed up with TEA (Themed Entertainment Association) at Notre Dame for our second annual LEGO Theme Park Build,” O’Leary said. ”We spent the entire day working with students and kids to create seven different ‘parks’ which included Saint Mary’s Boardwalk, Galaxy’s Rim and God Quad.”
With the Theme Park Build over, the LEGO Club is already planning its next big event. On their annual service trip, club members will spend an afternoon building LEGOs with second and third graders at local elementary schools.
“It is so much fun to play with the kids and be creative,” O’Leary said. “It is by far my favorite event we plan each year.”
The LEGO Club offers members stress relief in the form of building new and exciting creations, and allows students to spend time with their friends while participating in a fun and inventive activity.
“My favorite part of the club was being able to share my love of LEGOs with others and build things I would otherwise not be able to such as the LEGO Disney Castle, or a roller coaster,” Whelpley said.
The challenging builds and creative processes that are shared in the LEGO Club also help to form friendships among members.
“If I had to sum up the club in a word, it would definitely be community,” O’Leary said. “The community we’ve built has been absolutely amazing and I can’t wait to see where the club will go.”