Unique UCF clubs havens for fringe fandoms
Whether they're flying on brooms, kicking it to country music or mulling over their My Little Pony collections, UCF students have found some interesting groups to call their own.
Trista Ison, a sophomore sports medicine major, is the president of the line dancing club at UCF, Country Kickers.
Ison came into college with an interest in country music, and after visiting a local line-dancing establishment, she was determined to learn how to do it herself.
Country Kickers was established about a decade ago and, according to its website CountryKickers.webs.com, its mission is to "promote the appreciation of country music, as well as to incorporate a new style of dance into the traditionally recognized form of line dancing."
But line dancing isn't all they do, Ison said.
"We participate in UCF events like Knight-Thon and various special appearances at other [clubs'] meetings," Ison said. "My favorite experience so far has been performing for a church function and teaching them a couple dances."
Country Kickers meets at 9 p.m. every Monday in the Student Union, room 221.
But not every club on campus requires that much rhythm.
Bronies and Pegasisters, also known as BPUCF, is a registered student organization that was created by fans of the television series My Little Pony, a show based on a line of plastic toy ponies known best for their colorful manes, bodies and unique symbols.
However, members of BPUCF don't just sit in front of the TV to show their appreciation for the fandom.
Club members often post their plans for outings and conventions regularly on their group website. A few of these talented members even draw their own renditions of the equestrian figures.
BPUCF isn't the only club based on a popular series; some students prefer to soar and score while playing quidditch — a sport straight out of the book series Harry Potter.
Nearly Headless Knights Quidditch is another registered club at UCF. The club formed in September of 2012 and, according to its club and organization description on Knight Connect, it aims to "educate people [about] the sport of quidditch."
"We are a very open and fun-loving group," said Joshua Brown, a senior mechanical engineering major as well as the vice president and coach of the team. "We also had a bunch of people graduate, so we are looking for new people to come out and play with us. It is a lot of fun, and the Quidditch community is awesome and friendly."
'Muggle Quidditch', as it's often called, is played on a grass field with slightly deflated balls — two Bludgers and one Quaffle.
Each team consists of one Seeker, three Chasers, two Beaters — the position Brown plays — and a Keeper on the field, although 21 members are allowed on each full team.
An unaffiliated player, known as the Snitch Runner, runs around evading capture by the Seekers.
Once a Seeker catches the Snitch — a velcro sock with a tennis ball on the end carried by Snitch Runner — the game is over and 30 points are awarded to the team whose Seeker caught the Snitch.
Nearly Headless Knights currently meets Wednesdays and Fridays at 6 p.m. on Memory Mall, but plans on expanding that to three days a week when a larger group forms.
If none of these — or the 605 other clubs or organizations at UCF — interest you, you can easily start one of your own.
"It's extremely important for students to get involved on campus, whether it's through joining a student organization," said Tava Bingham, coordinator for Student Organizations at the Office of Student Involvement. "Research has consistently shown that the more involved a student is at their institution, the more they feel like a member of the community and are more likely to not only persist, but graduate from the institution."
Whether you find your place in a choreographed dance, on a broomstick or with your own student organization, whatever your niche is, there's no shortage of groups on campus catering to it.