Leader of the Middle Eastern and North African Club, Dana Farejellah explains how having clubs for international students gives a sense of community at school. “I’ve noticed that many Arabs don’t really know each other,” she said, “and this club is a great way to get everyone together”. Photo credit: Annika Schlarb

As the fall Clubfest had “maxed out the space” they originally had in E-building, organizer Cassandra Jones is on the hunt for a more spacious location to host the next one.

With a mission to “create an environment that inspires a passion for student success,” the Algonquin College Students’ Association runs all clubs offered at school.

The Students’ Association suitably appointed the Clubs and Community Coordinator, Jones, as the Clubfest organizer. Jones explained how fall 2023 had “the most amount of engagement” she has ever seen at Clubfest.

On Sept. 14, members, leaders and Clubfest attendees took over the Student Commons from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Club leaders decorated their tables and lined up in front of Starbucks to promote their clubs, looking for new members.

While students circulated the Student Commons, club leaders provided information and sign-up sheets for those interested in joining. With 60 active clubs on campus, there is no shortage of options and opportunities for students to engage in the school community.

Rose Audu described how she and other international club members understand what it is like being a student in a new country. Through events and group meetings, there are opportunities to connect with members who have similar and different backgrounds.

Audu is looking to plan a gathering for her club at Christmas. “I understand the feeling of being alone,” she said. “When you move to Canada, there is nowhere to go and no one to stay with during the holidays.”

The relationship Audu and other members have gained through attending the club gives a sense of community. “Even if I don’t know you that well, the fact that we go to the same club makes me feel connected enough to invite you to spend Christmas at my house,” said Audu.

Creating connections is an important aspect of school clubs. “The idea of the Latino Club is to create a community and support new Latino students,” said the club leader, Rebecca Fiera. Members can help new students find comfort with the school and city environment.

If you are looking for a club that lets you explore a community that you are already familiar with, there are still opportunities to find something new. “Some of the Latino Club members can teach Spanish,” said Fiera, offering the opportunity for students who want to learn a new language.

The AC Powerlifting Club is a fitness and health-focused group that club leader Aaron Perkins started two years ago after popular demand. “A lot of people want to get into fitness and they don’t know where to start,” said Perkins. “We’re really that starting point for them.”

The Powerlifting Club is a great way to find a workout partner who can become a friend with similar interests and goals. Perkins said he is at the school gym very often and is happy to be a workout partner to any member who may need one.

Making friends is club leader Ari Kamal’s most valued aspect of the Algonquin College E-Sports Club. “There are people that I would not have met previously to being in the club,” said Kamal, “I am very happy to have met the people that I have along the journey to becoming the person I am today.”

While keeping up with school work and friendships, it is also important to check in with yourself. Sky Algonquin is a meditation club organized by Akhil Ravindran Nair, who teaches workshops on meditation.

“I wanted to show my friends so they could feel the same,” Nair said. Since starting Sky Algonquin, he has been able to help a diverse group of members learn mindful meditation.

Joining a club is a great way to meet new people with similar interests and connect with students within or outside your program.

The Students’ Association’s events assistant, Veronica Sanchez, explained the process of creating a club through the Club Portal, which is also a way students can join clubs if they did not attend Clubfest.