Extra-curricular activities have always been a release for many students. Whether students relieve stress by aggressively shooting the ball around or quietly laughing with fellow club members, clubs and activities have always been an excellent outlet for making friends, taking time away from school and exploring a field of interest.
This year there seems to be a trend in the new clubs that have started at UAA. From the Freethinkers Society to Life, Spirituality and Personal Growth, clubs are beginning to allow an avenue for exploring ideas, beliefs and yourself.
Adrianne Knot, founder and president of the Freethinkers Society, said that her club originally started as a class project, but soon became a channel for discussion between a wide variety of students.
“We are constantly questioning currently held beliefs and beliefs that society has as a whole,” Knot said. “If someone believes it, we’ll question it.”
Though the club is not officially affiliated with the Free Thought Movement, they do borrow their definition of free thought.
“Free thought is critical analysis without dogma or religious baggage,” Knot said.
She said the Freethinkers Society has brought students together to discuss anything from religious involvement in the government, to aspects of certain majors and programs. Knot simply wants to offer intellectual stimulation between members.
The Society also plans to get involved or promote independent media throughout the Anchorage area, such as zines and independent films.
The T’ai Chi Club is also another outlet not only used to discuss ideas and philosophies, but to also symbolize those beliefs physically, said founder Ben Grolick.
“The T’ai Chi club is a good opportunity for UAA students to experience martial arts and a form of relaxation, clear thinking and good health in general,” Grolick said. Participants will begin by learning Yang style T’ai Chi, which consists of 25 open-hand movements.
Grolick said T’ai Chi also concentrates on self-empowerment of the individual through the mind and the body. T’ai Chi is a way to concentrate on being present and balancing and harmonizing with your surroundings.
These types of clubs, whether they consist of sharing ideas through conversation or physical movement, give a sense of self and allow students to concentrate on themselves and take time off from hectic everyday schedules.