The Wilkinson Student Center mutes the sounds of students buying lunch or chatting with friends and echoes instead with the sounds of pingpong volleys and salsa music once a week.
BYU is host to about 100 on-campus clubs featuring a wide variety of special interests and hobbies. Many of these clubs participate in Clubs Night every Tuesday from 7 to 10 p.m. so students can come together for activities. More than 1,000 students checked out 28 various clubs on Sept. 8, 2015 at this semester’s kickoff night.
Sheri King, the Clubs Night executive director, said participating gives students the chance to find their niche on campus.
“They can find other people with that same interest or passion,” King said.
Annaka Olson, a BYU freshman majoring in philosophy, said she came to Clubs Night hoping to find pockets of individuality and people who share her interests.
“There are different strands of cool things going on,” Olson said, “but it’s hard to find those niches.”
Olson came to Clubs Night with two freshmen friends who were also exploring club options. Claire Larson said she wanted to find a martial arts club, while Jacob Frazier said he was most interested in music-related clubs.
“I want to find like-minded people in my same strand of craziness,” Frazier said.
Clubs spread out in the student center to do what they love best. The Salsa Club staked a claim in the ballroom, where students learned new moves and then danced away the rest of the evening.
The Brazilian Capoeira Club kicked off its semester by forming a circle in the terrace and sparring. Capoeira is a martial art that includes elements of fighting, gymnastics and dancing, as developed by African slaves in Brazil several centuries ago.
“Clubs Night is a way to get away from school, but students are still on campus being involved with BYU,” King said.
She said BYUSA is working hard on bringing students, especially freshmen, out to Clubs Night so they can have the full college experience. BYUSA is doing most of this semester’s advertising through social media platforms and word of mouth.
Students who come to Clubs Night can enter drawings to win prizes like an iPad mini or a GoPro. BYUSA will alternate between entering students one Tuesday and announcing the winner the following week.
King said that Clubs Night is a time for all BYU students to have fun and find a club that suits them.
“It’s for everyone,” King said.