By Ailish Rhoades ’19
One of the most exciting aspects of going off to college is the prospect of gaining new and exciting experiences. College life provides unparalleled opportunities for students to meet new people and explore different interests through various clubs and organizations. What better way to find your new family than to get involved in one of the many clubs your new home offers?! Here at Sweet Briar, we take great pride in the versatility of our community, so it should come as no surprise that we have a club for just about every interest. We don’t have what you’re looking for? No worries! You can simply start your own with a little help from your friends! There is no better way to meet like-minded individuals or pursue a new hobby, whether that involves volunteer work, dancing or exploring the great outdoors. We have a little something for everyone and love to brag about what makes our clubs extra special. Intrigued? I interviewed two current students to hear what they had to say about their favorite organizations:
Madison Harpum ’21
Ailish: What clubs are you involved in on campus?
Madison: I’m a member of the QVs, Campus Events Organization, The Briar Patch and the Student Athletic Advisory Committee.
A: That’s quite the list! Out of all the clubs you’re involved in, is there a tradition that is the closest to your heart?
M: The Student-Athlete Advisory Committee does donations for charity, and during Christmas time they donate gifts!
A: Oh gosh, that’s a good one. How easy is it for students to get involved and join a club at Sweet Briar?
M: It’s super easy to get involved at Sweet Briar! You just need to make sure you go to Quad Rocks at the beginning of the year and sign up for everything you’re interested in!
A: Can you explain what Quad Rocks is?
M: At the beginning of the fall semester, we hold an event in the lower quad where all of the clubs on campus set up tables advertising their club and what they do. Students walk around, see what is being offered and sign up if they’d like to join. Students are always starting new clubs, so it’s a really great time for everybody to see what’s been added and also for first-year students to see what it is we have to offer. Also, there’s always food and music, so it’s just a really fun event all around.
A: What is the environment like of the clubs you are a member of?
M: Everyone is always so welcoming and wants you to join in and hold leadership positions, which is really important to me! I love the environment here at Sweet Briar and the clubs play a major role in that.
Weatherly Ryder ’22
Ailish: What clubs are you involved in at Sweet Briar?
Weatherly: I’m a member of Sweet Briar’s outdoors program.
A: What made you want to get involved in that program?
W: I’ve always been an outdoor kid and loved nature, but I didn’t know I could work in outdoor recreation. My big*, Bailey, was one of the program instructors and encouraged me to be an apprentice, so I did that during my first year. I loved my apprenticeship and learned so many skills during that time, so when I became an instructor myself, I got to choose more trips to go on and it was awesome!
A: That’s so cool! What do you think makes the program itself so special?
W: The most special part of the outdoor program has been seeing the wonders of the outdoors with some of my best friends. (The sunsets at Mount Rogers are incredible!) I’ve become really close with the other instructors, and I know I can always count on them. My college experience has been shaped into more of a leadership position than I ever imagined possible largely due to my participation in the program. Leading campouts, hikes and teaching canoe skills has made me more of a confident leader and person.
A: I love that the program impacted you and your time on campus so deeply! Has there been a particular trip, event, or tradition that really stood out to you?
W: I love our night hikes! When it gets dark enough you can see all the stars. Plus sometimes we have s’mores and a campfire after.
Due to the coronavirus, the outdoor program has postponed their off-campus trips until it becomes safer for students and staff to travel. The inability to travel hasn’t put a damper on their fun, in fact their fall calendar has been jam packed with on-campus activities open to all students with events ranging from night hikes and camping to canoe days down at the lake. Stay tuned for an article set to come out next month all about what the outdoor program did to stay entertained this semester!
*Sweet Briar has a Big Sister/Little Sister Program for first-year students and juniors, and is a great opportunity to find an upper-class woman to be your mentor for the first two years.