New clubs attract many students

From coding to competitive Pokémon, the flyer-filled mayhem of this year’s club fair was marked by the appearance of several new stands.  Whether recreational, competitive, or somewhere in between, the start of school this fall heralded the arrival of these ten groups—Art Heals, Around the World, Competitive Pokémon Club, Currency Club, Girls Who Code, Redefining Beauty, Ultimate Frisbee, UNICEF, Westminster Mountain Club, and the Westminster Table Tennis Association—bringing the total number of clubs on campus to 60.

One of the newest additions to the many service clubs at Westminster is Art Heals, a monthly gathering in the basement of Broyles that paints cards for patients at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

“Anyone can join; you don’t have to be good at art to be interested,” said sophomore president and founder Ava Wang.  “I started it because I love art and wanted to do something in the community.”

With bi-monthly meetings beginning October, the group eventually hopes to expand projects to cards for veterans and other children’s hospitals as the year unfolds.

Another new club focused on service, the United Nations’ Children’s Fund or UNICEF, aims to help children in a different way by providing humanitarian assistance in developing countries

“In UNICEF, we’re trying to raise awareness across campus about child survival issues like nutrition, education, and water inaccessibility,” said sophomore and club president Tara Pillai.

In addition to meeting every month to discuss issues, the group plans to engage in local volunteer opportunities and fundraise money for international causes.

In the same vein of international impacts at home, Around the World is a new club chaired by Megha Shah and Gehna Chaubal that discusses the influence of different cultures.  During its monthly meetings, club members partake in various cultures by reading magazines, watching movies, or eating food with the goal of making their impact on daily life known.

Furthermore, the Currency Club raises awareness about a different aspect of international affairs: trading for collection and profit.  Led by sophomores Charlie Benedict and Alejandro Lim, the group intends not only to educate members on how to invest in digital currencies but also to explore the world of currency as it adapts to technology.

“Learning about currencies around the world helps increase knowledge about everything from finance to culture,” said Lim. “Even the bills themselves have references to a nation’s history printed on them.”

Next among this year’s diversity of new clubs is a forum for learning about a different topic—how to care for and feel comfortable in one’s skin.  Open to all female students, Redefining Beauty hosts monthly meetings led by club head junior Yessica Velasquez.  In addition to discussing popular makeup trends at these gatherings, members will plan projects ranging from fundraisers for skin cancer awareness to campus education about sun protection.

Similarly targeted toward females, Girls Who Code is a new club on campus backed by a national organization working towards equality by teaching girls programming.

“The main purpose of it is to close the gender gap between males and females in technology today,” said club head and junior Amory Weinzierl.  “We’ve all heard this before, how a woman makes 75 cents when a man makes a dollar.”

To that end, members learn programming languages like Javascript and C++ during the group’s Thursday afternoon meetings.  The official curriculum each week is provided by the organization’s national level; club leaders at school are responsible for making that information comprehendible and fun.

Beginning the list of more competitive clubs, the Ultimate Frisbee Club organizes games for students across campus.  In addition to coordinating events, the group, chaired by senior Ken Roberts and juniors Oliver Babb and Chris Staley, also offers coaching for the sport.

The Mountain Club is another group that offers a mix of recreation and competition for its members. Founded by senior Tyler Bass, the club centers on getting more students involved in mountain biking around Atlanta while entering those who wish to compete in races.

Continuing that spirit of increasing recreational involvement, the Westminster Table Tennis Association, headed by senior Vivek Garimella and junior Albert Zhang, shows students the joy of the Olympic sport.  Through its weekly practices in the Campus Center, the group hopes to foster enjoyment of the sport and provide members with enough experience to attend scheduled tournaments.

Finally, the new Competitive Pokémon Club offers a different kind of competition for its members by featuring topics from Video Game Championship rules to other Pokémon-related events.  Founded by senior Omari Matthews and juniors Joe Billips, Presley Bird, and Lara Kassabian for the purpose of improving their Pokémon-battling skills, the club discusses battle strategies and measures ranking performance during its meetings around the school.

“Overall, I thought the club fair had a wide variety of different clubs that could appeal to anyone who was interested,” said this year’s fair’s organizer and senior Ajay Manocha, “ with enough new clubs to keep everyone engaged and interested.”