When a Russian student arrived in Canada and realized that there were huge misconceptions about his country, he decided to do something about it. Dmitry Vinnik, a science student, started a club at Langara to explain things from a Russian point of view.
Clubs Day was held in Langara’s main foyer on Jan. 30. It gave groups an opportunity to recruit new members while showcasing their plans and activities. Seven new clubs were started last month.
Russian club tries to fix stereotypes
Vinnik said that many students he has encountered since arriving in Canada don’t know anything about Russia.
“It’s even worse when people know only certain stereotypes,” he said.
The Russian Club recruited approximately 50 members, including 10 native Russian speakers, whom Vinnik hopes will help spark interesting conversations.
The club will discuss Russian culture, learn some basic language skills and screen Russian movies with English subtitles. Meetings will begin next month.
Drastic increase in the number of clubs
The number of groups at Langara has more than doubled since last year to almost 30 clubs this semester.
“There has been a marked increase in the number of clubs at the college and the amount of day-to-day club activity in general,” said Reba Noel, Langara’s student engagement officer.
Noel said that clubs are important because they help students feel more connected and less likely to feel isolated while on campus.
“Clubs provide the opportunity to meet like-minded students, socialize and pursue personal interests, giving shyer students a great venue for developing interpersonal skills and confidence,” she said. “These skills and club involvement look really good on resumes.”
Noel said that she hasn’t had to turn down any applications for clubs since starting her position a year ago. “There have been times when I needed to garner more information or seek clarification on the a club’s activities or mandate, but this is a part of the application process,” she said.
Langara students start a training club for the Vancouver Sun Run
“It’s something we can get our weekly runners to work towards,” Pascall said.
Pascall and Tsatouhas founded the club after they realized that there weren’t any groups dedicated to runners at Langara.
Tsatouhas said that finding a teacher sponsor and filling out the application package was easier than he expected.
Idle No More connects with students through new club
Idle No More started a new group two days before the club fair, but they still had more than 50 people sign up.
Nicole Austin, an aboriginal studies student, said she has received a plenty of positive feedback from students.
“As we’re all here for higher learning, what better way than to spread the message in a positive way through fellow students,” Austin said. “As soon as we set up our table, people were just drawn to it . We didn’t even have to tell them what it was about.
“Obviously with a movement that’s grassroots not everybody has the same ideas as what it should stand for,” she said. “[But] we have more supporters than haters at this moment.
“It’s not just an Indian thing, it’s a Canadian issue,” said Austin.
Criteria for starting a club
- A minimum of five Langara students
- An employee sponsor
- A leader registered as a full-time equivalent student
- All members of the club must be Langara students
- No clubs based on discrimination
Applications can be submitted to the Student Hub in Building C. Official club status expires Aug. 31 each year.
Benefits of starting a club
- Ability to book college facilities
- Promotional support for activities including the college website, social media, posters and publications
- Opportunity to participate in Clubs Day
- Official Langara club status
In the video: Students talk about Club Days at Langara
Reported by Gillian Hames