AU offers a variety of clubs that allow students the opportunity to pursue their personal interests and passions. Some unique communities that you may not have heard of founded by AU students include: The New Music Club, Neighbors and Old Souls.
The New Music Club is an interest club founded by Carly Erst, a senior music education major.
“The club’s purpose is really just about the music and is a good way for students to get together and play music that isn’t really played or run through in the music department,” says Erst. “It also serves as an outlet for composers who want to hear the music they are writing performed. We have people writing music specifically for our group and our instruments.”
In starting the New Music Club, Erst is pursuing her passion beyond the classroom.
“The club started out as a group of students who met last semester to play music composed by a recent AU graduate, Ian Callen, who is now studying composition at Butler,” said Erst. “He asked to get a few people together to read through his piece so he could hear how it sounds.”
“So, we read through his piece. It was a lot of fun. He heard it and then made a few changes, and then we did it again the next week,” Erst said. “Then, we got some more pieces and more people. It just started to grow, and we realized we were getting together almost every week, so that’s when we decided to do a concert and make it an official club.”
The New Music Group became official in November of 2018.
“When we did our concert last semester, the original idea wasn’t so much to be a club as it was to be a community for anyone in the area, an Anderson community ensemble. Everyone is welcome to come join us,” says Erst.
The New Music Club meets on Saturday evenings in Fine Arts 101.
Neighbors is a group founded by members of the AU community who seek to be a support system for LGBTQ+ individuals. Neighbors was founded in 2016.
Isaac Derkach, junior musical theatre major and social coordinator of Neighbors describes the group as a family.
“The goal and purpose of Neighbors is to come together, queer students and straight allies alike,” he said. “It’s a way for us to be there for each other, hang out, get to know each other, be friends, build a network and a family.”
Derkach says that Neighbors is especially important at AU because of preconceived ideas commonly held by people of Christian faith.
“A lot of queer students have the fear of what their families will think or what the church will think. At the very least, Neighbors is a place where we know that there are people who are going to be there for us,” Derkach said.
Neighbors is a community where new students can connect with each other and build friendships.
“We are building friendships,” he said. “The way the alliance works is really just a way to know that I have your back and that you have mine. It’s building a strong friendship and knowing that we are different, but we can still get along and be great friends.”
Derkach says that the main draw to Neighbors was a sense of belonging.
“I joined Neighbors after I came out,” says Derkach who has been a member of Neighbors since January of 2018. “The club took me from the headspace of being afraid and asking myself, ‘What am I going to do to do? What is everyone going to think? What is the school going to think? Who is going to be there for me?’ Neighbors gave me a sense of security in realizing I do have a space where I can just hang out and be goofy and also talk about things that matter to me.”
Building relationships and finding a sense of belonging through Neighbors has contributed to Derkach’s confidence.
“Neighbors is a space for me to be myself,” he said. “It has brought a lot of confidence and joy as I get to meet new people and learn new faces. It has been a really good experience and has given me a lot of growth and personal development.”
Neighbors meets on a weekly basis in the evenings.
Old Souls is a new AU club that meets weekly to build community by enjoying activities such as arts and crafts, knitting, crocheting, embroidery and baking.
Lucy Stultz, sophomore project management major and co-president of Old Souls defines an old soul as “a person of any age who likes to partake in activities that are normally enjoyed by those in their later years.”
Olivia Dudley, junior family science major and co president of Old Souls said “this club is for any student who considers themselves an old soul and can set aside technology for an hour to just focus on enjoying small crafts with other craft lovers.”
Old Souls club strives to create a community for people who delight in activities typically enjoyed by older people.
“It’s a great way to meet new people,” says Dudley. “A lot of time old souls think that they are alone because they are in this young, hip generation, but they like these ‘old person’ activities. This club is a way to realize that there are others like you.”
The first official meeting for Old Souls will be Feb. 20, at 4 p.m. in Fair Commons Lobby.