With 532 buildings, 5,200 acres of land, and more than 48,000 students on campus, it is no wonder newcomers to Michigan State University might be overwhelmed when arriving in late August.
However, despite its grand size, Michigan State University has a wide range of niche student organizations to engage Spartans.
The process of seeking out clubs to join starts with the highly anticipated event: Sparticipation. This is a once a year experience gathers 650 registered clubs on Munn Field (or this year, the Breslin Center) to promote their groups.
There are a variety of clubs to choose from – some focused on academics, others on environmental issues, and many in between. Each group gains a significant amount of student interest, whether it be for fun or to further career interests.
The Underwater Hockey Club is a group designed for fun.
“Previous swimming experience is not necessary; players have the option of wearing fins to help swim around faster,” said President Colleen Anthony. “Some of the best members did not swim before they joined the team.”
Underwater Hockey is played with two teams each consisting of six players on the bottom of pool floors ranging six-eight feet deep. The players wear water polo caps, a mask, a snorkel, protective gloves, a stick (which is about one foot long), and fins. Members must maneuver through the opposing team and get the puck into the goal.
Unlike Ice Hockey, there are no goalies. Teams usually have a 3-3 formation with three forwards and three backs. There is no main coach; however, the older, more experienced players teach newcomers how to play.
“The most challenging aspect of the sport is learning to use the snorkel, holding your breath, and learning puck and stick skills,” said Anthony.
Once in the club, members can choose if they want to play on an intramural team or the travel team. The competitive team is nationally recognized – they placed second, first and third in the past 3 years for their division in the national tournament.
The group meets every Tuesday and Thursday evening from 7:30-9:30pm at the IM Circle Pool.
Turf Grass Management
For those more interested in studying the environment, Michigan State offers a Turf Grass Club.
Unbeknownst to most, Michigan State offer a Turf Grass Management program, which focuses on managing and caring for grass—usually golf courses, athletic fields and home lawns.
This student organization was created to provide extracurricular opportunities for turf students as well as a friendlier setting for professional networking. At meetings, members get to know one another and discuss activities the group would like to participate in.
“I joined to get to know others, to network with my classmates, to take advantage of a great tool for advancing myself in the industry, and to have fun,” said club president John Parvin.
Activities of Turf Grass Club include educational golf outings, participation in the Turf Bowl at the Golf Industry Show (GIS), participation in the Homecoming Parade, and miniature golf outings.
The Turf Bowl is one of the bigger events the club attends.
During the turf bowl, the MSU Turf Grass Club competes with other universities via a written exam.
“We stand out from other clubs because we have a unique interest in grass that brings our group together,” said Parvin.
The club meets every Tuesday and Thursday at 3:45pm in Room A155 of the Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences Building. Students who are in the Turf Grass Management program are strongly encouraged to join, but anyone is allowed to come to the meetings.
Beardsmen of MSU
If you are looking for another laid-back and fun way to spend your weekdays then you should check out the Beardsmen of MSU.
“I created the club last year as a way to bring people together who enjoy facial hair; bearded or shaved, man or woman; all are welcome,” said club president Mick Haley.
At meetings, members discuss ideas on how to improve the group, establish leadership position, and plan future events. Locations rotate depending on where the club wants to grab a bite to eat.
Beardsmen members engage in a variety of activities – whether it is volunteer work or planned get-togethers. Last year, the group passed out fake mustaches at Wells Hall while complementing those with facial hair
The club has also raised funds for the American Cancer Society, participated in “No Shave November” and organized beard competitions.
For more information, find them on Facebook. Updates are posted daily as to when and where the club meets.
The MSU Assassin’s club gives Spartans a chance to embrace their inner child.
This group meets at the Pines, north of Munn Field, to play games with NERF style weapons.
“The group was formed to be a fun, social way to get outside and play, which is an important thing for people to do,” said club president Tristan Worthington.
Anyone may join and there are no commitments or long meetings to sit through. Members dive right into games at club meetings.
The Assassins Club plays a variety of games with NERF style weaponry such as capture the flag or games created specifically for the club.
“By joining this group, you have a great opportunity to relieve stress and take your mind off the craziness of college life,” said Worthington.
One of the biggest events the group trains for and participates in is the campus-wide Human vs. Zombies event during spring semester.
In this event, a few people are designated as zombies and everyone else are humans – zombies try to tag the humans, while humans are allowed to shoot zombies with NERF weaponry which “stuns” them long enough so that the humans can escape.
If you are interested in joining, go on their Facebook for information on meetings and more.
Although Michigan State University is among the top ten largest universities in the nation, getting involved can help make the campus seem smaller.
If you weren’t able to attend Sparticipation this past August, you can still contact the club advisors by logging on to the Student Life Website.