Yawp! members celebrate Dead Poet’s Society night.

The clock in the courtyard declared that it was 7:06pm on a Thursday evening and I was late. I hurried toward Kryzsko Commons, ran up the stairs, passed the Jack Kane Dining Center, and finally reached my destination– Dining Room B.

This was location of the weekly meeting of Yawp! or as the group is better known, the Winona State University English Club, of which I am a proud member.

That night’s theme was Dead Poet’s Society; in reference to the movie, we gathered round and read poetry by flashlight for a more dramatic effect. There were recitations of poems by Robert Frost, e.e. cummings, and Walt Whitman, whose poem “Song of Myself” inspired the club’s moniker.

Several members shared their own poetry too, with topics ranging from the serious contemplation of life and death to a more humorous poem about longing for Taco Bell. I shared a poem I wrote about the need to remember life before it passes out of memory and was rewarded by the appreciative finger-snapping of my fellow English enthusiasts.

You may think that English Club is only for English majors and minors, but in fact we have members who are majoring in a variety of liberal arts programs. There are even a few computer science majors and chemistry majors!

The only criteria for membership in Yawp! is a love of reading and writing in the English language.

If you come to one of our meetings, you had better be prepared to answer which three books would you take to a desert island, which fictional world you would rather inhabit, and which author you would like to interview over lunch. (For me: Ender’s Game, Atonement, and Pride and Prejudice; Gail Carriger’s version of Victorian London; Jane Austen.)

Yawp! is simply a place for people with literary leanings to talk about books, poems, and plays and work on their own writing without the structure of a classroom or intimidating letter grades.

If that sounds like fun to you, come and join us! We’d love to add you to our ranks of bookish brethren.

However, if reading for pleasure is a foreign concept to you, you may find an outlet for your passions in one of the 200+ student clubs and organizations here at Winona State.

Some clubs, like Yawp!, are based on common interests like music, sports, and even video gaming and tend more social and laid-back. Other clubs, like Circle K and Habitat for Humanity, focus on community service while still others are centered on academic excellence and specific majors, such as Alpha Lambda Delta and Criminal Justice Club. Faith-based clubs, cultural clubs, and Greek organizations also have a strong presence on our campus.

I know that this is a phrase that you’ve heard time and time again, but I will repeat it because it’s true: Clubs are a great way to meet people and get involved on campus.

Honestly, what better, easier way to find people who share your same interests and have some fun?

And with the many clubs and organizations here at WSU, I am sure you will find yourself running across campus not to miss out on a minute of that meeting.