Episode 16: “Kids today”
Hey, this is Deborah Holdship.
In this episode of “Listen in, Michigan” I am taking you out to the diag because it’s that special time of year. Festifall. When all the student organizations and clubs take their tables and their posters and their candy and their boundless enthusiasm in the quest to generate excitement for their club and their cause. So I’ll meet you out there in a couple of seconds. Get ready, because it’s like New York City. It is super loud out there.
I’m out on the Michigan Diag. I’m standing under a shady tree surrounded by a circle students and tables and colors and signs. I’m looking at organizations about gender and sexuality, social fraternities and sororities, health and wellness, spirituality, business, education, career-oriented things. There are acapella groups. There are dance groups. There are theatre groups. I mean you would not believe it. Anything you can think of basically and you can find out here.
Student 1: I belong to the Biomedical Engineering Society, the National Council of Negro Women, Beta mu epsilon which is biomedical, the National Society for Black Engineers. I’m part of a lot of things (laughs).
Student 2: I mean honestly it’s almost overwhelming how many awesome opportunities and clubs and organizations and people that Michigan has to offer.
Student 3: It’s a whole lot of fun out here I think. It’s really lively. Lots and lots of shouting and screaming in the best way.
Holdship: No candy?
Student 3: No candy from us sorry.
Holdship: Ah come on you guys!
Student 3: Next year. You’re giving us ideas!
Student 4: We are Empire to Entrepreneurship and we are the largest student entrepreneurship organization on campus so we are running that.
Holdship: Right on!
Student 5: We are Mfly. We are student design team up on North Campus in the Wilson Center and every year we design and build three planes for competition. We have an aerodynamics team, a propulsion team, a structures team, a business team and an avionics team for these two planes. And then the other plane has a software, hardware, and airframe team.
Student 6: So basically we support students, helping them become Actuaries. So we hold a lot of professional development things such as resume workshops, mock interviews. We partner with the career center and have them help us out with the career fairs. We started last year throwing our own career fair, just for actuaries.
Holdship: How’d that go?
Student 6: It went really well. Yeah, we had 18 companies come. A lot of students got internships or full-time position from it.
Student 6: Yeah it was really, it worked out really well.
Student 7: The belief of Vedanta is sort of that you know everyone is already on the path and you know, even the idea of God as a very personalized thing.
Student 8: So our mission on campus is to connect Muslim students, whether they be undergrads or grads, to each other and keep them connected to their faith while they are on campus.
Student 9: We are a Christian fellowship group on campus. We’re just here to help serve the needs of students.
Student 10: I am a Republican. I believe in a small government. I believe that the power should lie with the people and with the states. So that’s kind of where my basis of my party affiliation lies. Here on campus, I think we do a really great job of creating inclusive dialogue for people of all ends of the spectrum to feel included. We have a lot of good conversation, and also a lot of bonding of events just to know you have a conservative support network here on campus. Whether we’re painting the rock or going to the gun range and practicing our second amendment rights, we definitely make sure that campus knows that we exist and there’s a place for conservative voice here.
Student 11: We meet the architects and the university officials who are leading these projects. And we basically give the student voice and the student opinions about what we’d like to see change in these buildings. Like so for example, the IM building, which was just renovated, we suggested that they remove the pool and add more cardio space because that’s something that we noticed that students were really wanting. So they actually listened to us and they did that. So that was very empowering.
Student 12: I’m here for Camp Kesem. It’s a nonprofit organization and it’s a summer camp for kids whose parents have cancer. And so it’s a free week of camp for them. We do all the fundraising throughout the year so they don’t have to pay to come to camp.
Student 13: We’re exchange students from Germany. And that’s a great opportunity to come in contact with other students. So we’re just walking around and…
Holdship: What do you think?
Student 13: Honestly it’s awesome.
Student 14: In College Democrats, especially after the election, a lot of people came up to us and they asked, “are you guys even still doing things?” They figured like you know we lost, we’re done. But it’s actually an incredibly exciting time. We have a lot of people coming up to us especially during recruitment events like this asking to be a part of it. They’re really excited about it. So that’s been great. On campus more broadly there’s been a lot of activism and a lot of movement in the last few years which is really exciting and it’s good to see that on campus.
Student 15: What what augments the Michigan education is what you do out of class. What makes Michigan such a great engineering college is the fact that you could do these amazing cool experiences that you can’t do at other colleges.
Holdship: How do you guys get along with the Solar Car team?
Student 15: No comment. No no no. We’re neighbors. We we live and work in the Wilson Center right next to each other. There aren’t issues. They are okay.
Student 16: We have people ranging from arts to business all throughout our org. So I’m actually an industrial engineering major, but I’m doing a minor in entrepreneurship. But I’m thinking of going into education.
Student 17: I am a double major in Psychology and Music and a minor in Community Action and Social Change.
Student 18: I’m a first-year Dietetics graduate student. A lot of my work is helping people who maybe talk about their diet in a problematic way or a very restrictive way. I encourage them to think in alternative ways. So, less number counting, more like how do you feel about what you’re eating and just a more holistic sense of health. Your health isn’t solely determined by how many times you hit the gym. That’s one part of it but there’s so much more.
Student 19: I am a junior out of five studying computer science and mathematics. Historically, well presently, LGBTQ+ individuals are not very well represented in STEM. And even if they are in STEM they’re frequently forced to hide that part of their identity. This organization is working to change that.
Student 20: So we’re Progressives. We write for all sorts of progressive issues on campus. When can we like to do is collaborate with other student orgs that might have a stake in one of these causes. Environmental groups, women’s groups, LGBTQ groups, racial equality groups, anything like that. We’re also connected with Our Revolution which came out of the Bernie Sanders campaign. So we’re interested in moving the Democratic Party more leftward. Fighting for things like single-payer healthcare, raising the minimum wage, or anything like that.
Student 21: So there’s a couple of squirrels that actually know when you’re going to come and feed them. So they will kind of come up to the group already. So it’s pretty funny to know that they recognize you and are super approachable in that aspect so. Our goal this semester is to get a squirrel in those underpants.
Holdship: Why underpants?
Student 21: You know, I think it would just be pretty funny to see a squirrel running around in underpants. A squirrel in a t-shirt, that’s you know, okay whatever. But a squirrel in underpants, that’s next level.
Holdship: Hey are you guys part of a club or are looking to join one?
Student 22: The boxing team.
Student 23: Yeah we’re on the boxing team.
Holdship: Oh you are on the boxing team? Alright. Why do you like boxing? It freaks me out.
Student 22: Umm… it’s more, yeah I mean if you look at it, if you just look at the cover of a book right? You just see it’s brutal, it looks violent but, I mean there’s so much more. There’s comradery.
Student 23: You can get better, you can grow. Be a part of a team like you said.
Student 22: And even deeper than that, just the discipline you have to have and the mental toughness to prove to yourself that you can get in the ring and like you know take a punch. Yeah right! You got to roll with the punches.
Student 24: And it’s not like fighting, it’s like any other sport. You know like golf. Like mentally and everything.
Student 22: And in life. You put yourself in an uncomfortable situation and you train to be comfortable in the uncomfortable.
Student 23: I think it’s really important to step out of your comfort zone and branch out when you are at a place like Michigan because there’s so many diverse people and beliefs. And so I think you really grow as a person if you really step out and just try to experience as much as much as differences as you can.
Student 24: The reason I love it is just because I met so many people of varying backgrounds. We have anywhere from first-year undergraduates to Ph.D. students and medical students. And so it’s a really great way to meet people who are different but share that same passion for music.
Student 25: It’s very intense. The energy is very high. I just talked to someone on the Parcore club. It’s release from academic studies. It’s a way to revamp myself. An outlet basically.
Student 26: I took a gap year right before starting school last year. I’m a sophomore now and on my gap here I went to Costa Rica and learned c a lot about sustainability and about working for the environment. And when I came back I was like you know I really want to get super involved in that at school and bring that to other people at Michigan.
Student 27: It’s just really fun to be around other people who share your passion. But at the same time and it looks great on a resume. But, the thing that really makes you want to do is it’s kind of like a family. It’s kind of interesting just to see a bunch of nerds who love aircraft hanging out together all the time, you know.
Student 28: U of M in 2017, I still think, is the epicenter of so much social change and in STEM so much like ground-breaking research. The university is not slowing down at all in that way.
Student 29: Well, Quizbowl is like an academic competition where four people per team are around buzzers, sort of like Jeopardy. It’s more academic style and longer questions and we compete in tournaments across the Midwest mostly. So like there’s literature questions, art questions, music, science, geography, history, that kind of thing. I think they also throw in a little bit of pop culture once in a while. But in order to win nationals, you study a lot. And that wasn’t me. I was in the middle.
Holdship: (laughs) That’s good though! Now tell me your name.
Student 29: My name is Mark.
Holdship: Mark. And your last name?
Student 29: Uh Karabajakian
Holdship: Haha well can you spell that for me?
Student 29: K-A-R-A-B-A-J-A-K-I-A-N
Holdship: That’s the best name I’ve ever heard! And how does Mark go. With a C or a K?
Student 29: Uh with a K.
Holdship: Spell it for me?
A-P-P-L-E-G-A-T-E. It’s a pretty boring name.
Holdship: (laughs) No it’s not!
Holdship: tell me how to spell your last name.
Join Women’s Rugby! Try something new!
Holdship: Try something new. and shouldn’t we all. I mean that’s basically the Crito for your entire college experience. When the heck else are you going to get to do all this crazy stuff. Alright well, till next time. I hope you enjoy “Listen in, Michigan” podcasts at iTunes, TuneIn, and Stitcher. You can also find us at michigantoday.umich.edu. Click on the topics tab and look for podcast. Alright, take it easy till next time. I think I’m going to go check out the Women’s Rugby team. From a distance.
It’s that special time of year again: Festifall, when the Diag is overrun with hundreds of student clubs and organizations, whose leaders and representatives are working their best marketing and recruiting strategies. (Candy works well. So does shouting, depending on what section you’re in.)
During the annual Festifall, you may find religious groups of every denomination, academic and honor societies, performing arts groups, fraternities and sororities, cultural groups, sports clubs, and activism organizations. At any given time, one might come across a female rugby player, an entrepreneur dressed in a shark costume, or a guy passing out condoms.
It’s like Times Square out there, friends laughing and navigating their way through the crowd to find that one club — that one life-changing organization, orchestra, or a cappella group — before graduation rears its ugly head.
Come meet some of the best and brightest on campus these days. These students are overachieving, hardworking, multi-tasking, and, apparently, brilliant.
Were you in a student club or organization? Share you memories in the comments section below.