By Nicholas Moreau
At Fitchburg State University’s annual event Rock the Block, held on Sept. 9 as part of the school’s orientation for incoming students, the college’s many diverse clubs and organizations gathered on the quad to show what they were all about, hoping to recruit some new members. Among the familiar groups returning from previous semesters was the Fitchburg Activities Board, with its table for converting group pictures into dry-erase boards. Also notably present were multiple alphabets worth of Hellenic letters, printed proudly on the clothing of hundreds of members of the campus’s Greek organizations.
There were also many lesser-known campus clubs, hoping their presence at Rock the Block would mean an increased interest in their organization from the Fitchburg State community.
One of the most unusual sights at Rock the Block this year was junior Sean Doherty dressed in authentic-looking ancient Roman armor in an effort to promote his newly founded club, the FSU Classics Society, where the real Greek life is on campus.
“We’re new and we’re looking for members,” says Doherty.
The FSU Classics Society celebrates the history, literature, and culture of Ancient Greece and Rome. Doherty already has a lot in mind for the club this year, including watching HBO’s “Rome” series in its entirety, discussing classic Greek and Roman literature, and having a special celebration on March 15 (the infamous Ides of March). Doherty also says that the club will take part in his newly created game, “Ludus Bellicus,” Latin for “The Art of War,” which he describes as a mixture of dodgeball and capture-the-flag.
“We like to have a good time,” says Doherty. “We get to the parts about Rome that aren’t usually discussed.”
The FSU Classics Society meets Tuesdays at 3:30 p.m. on the third floor of Miller Hall.
For those who are more into Eastern culture than Mediterranean, the FSU Martial Arts Club offers free classes in two separate forms of karate.
“It’s a lot of fun and we accept people of all sizes,” says club president Andrew Wilmarth. “You don’t have to be strong or in the best shape – everyone starts at the beginning. We’re happy to accept anybody.”
The FSU Martial Arts Club meets in the Hammond Dance Studio Wednesdays from 6 to 8 p.m. for Goju-Ryu Karate, Thursdays from 6 to 8 p.m. for Uechi-Ryu Karate, and Fridays from 2 to 3:15 p.m. for Japanese Sword.
To continue the theme of diversity and leadership on campus, Black Student Union Club President Jade St. Cyere emphasizes that the BSU is not just a club for those of African-American heritage; it’s a non-discriminatory club that anyone can join who is looking to improve relationships within the community.
“Here at BSU we want to promote a sense of brotherhood,” says St. Cyere.
BSU sponsors a number of events on campus, and also does extensive community service at the Cleghorn Neighborhood Center in Fitchburg, which St. Cyere described as “a place that offers activities for urban middle-school and high-school students in an effort to keep them out of trouble.”
“If you’re new on campus and don’t know where to start, BSU is a great place,” says St. Cyere.
Students who decided to venture into the back corner of Rock the Block, right in front of the entrance to the old Parkinson gymnasium, will have found a club whose name sounds strangely self-aware.
Films Under the Radar is a little-known FSU club with the goal of making students more aware of little-known, non-mainstream movies, by hosting screenings of them in Ellis While Lecture Hall.
“It gives students who want to see new movies but don’t know where to go a place to go to see some different stuff,” says vice president Peter Brown.
But Films Under the Radar is about more than just screenings. Brown says that the club also donated $249 worth of DVDs to the campus library last year, which are now available to be checked out by all students.
And that’s just a small sample of the many lesser-known student clubs that made their presence felt at Rock the Block. Though they may not share the popularity and event attendance of organizations like FAB and SGA, the many clubs that were present again proved that there really is something for everyone here at Fitchburg State University.