5 Student Groups You Never Knew Existed

As an avid student group member myself, I’ve learned firsthand the benefits joining a campus organization adds to student life. At the University of Montana, students have such a myriad of groups to choose from that it’s almost hard to decide where to get involved first.

Here are 5 University of Montana student groups that you may not have heard of yet (but should definitely know about):

Hurling Club

Sophie Friedl, full back

Sophie Friedl, full back

University of Montana’s Hurling Club was founded in August 2013 and has already skyrocketed to success, competing across the United States and winning the 2014 Hurling championship at the NCGAA (National Collegiate Gaelic Athletic Association) Championship Tournament, remaining undefeated throughout the tournament. Hurling originated in Ireland and combines skills from baseball, hockey and lacrosse. It is also referred to as “the fastest game on the grass.” The team is a rag-tag group of people from a variety of backgrounds including a lacrosse player and bull fighter.

Her favorite aspect?

Teamwork. It’s a very different atmosphere to play on a coed team. Surprisingly, I’ve found that the men we play with are much more interested in the team-building aspect of it than the women. It’s also cool to see the support we’ve gained from the Irish American community as well as the different cultures we’ve had involved.

How to get involved:

Anyone can play. To learn more or to contact the team, check out their Facebook page.

Longboarding Club

Bryce Rowe, President

Bryce Rowe, President

The UM Longboarding Club began in January of 2014. Bryce Rowe, its president, wanted to provide resources for fellow longboarders and establish a community around the sport of longboarding. Bryce first found his passion for the sport as a high school senior when his brother brought one home from college. The club has grown to about 60 members who participate together in meetings and fundraisers, the most popular of which is selling roses for Valentine’s Day.

His favorite part?

When I began, I mostly wanted to meet people who were better at longboarding than I was, so I could learn from them. It didn’t take long for me to improve and now I get to meet younger longboarders and help them get better.

What’s Missoula’s best longboarding spot?

The river trail or Woodacre in the South Hills.

How to get involved?

The group’s Facebook page is a great way to contact them and stay updated about upcoming events.

Circus Club

Sydoney Blackmore, Ringleader

Sydoney Blackmore, Ringleader

The UM Circus Club provides education, practical opportunities and personal empowerment for students interested in exploring the world of circus arts. The club meets every Sunday from 8-10 p.m. in the Schreiber Gymnasium on campus to help members learn and develop skills in a safe environment. Throughout the semester, the club hosts workshops that culminate in a carnival, showcasing the unique skills that each member has practiced so carefully all year long.

Her favorite part?

The variety of people who are interested in circus arts and the community that the group has provided each of them.

How to get involved:

Come to a meeting! The club is always open to starting new factions within itself, and encourages people to learn and practice aspects of circus (body painting, magic tricks, slack-lining, unicycling, juggling, etc.). The club will help participants begin this journey.

Missoula Ministry of Magic

Cheyanne Chadwick, Chapter organizer

Cheyanne Chadwick, Chapter organizer

The Missoula Ministry of Magic describes themselves as the “real life Dumbledore’s Army.” The group aims to create tangible change by connecting real-world social justice issues to popular culture. For example, next fall they plan to implement #MyHungerGames, which will link the popular Hunger Games series with issues of economic inequality.

Each year, the group hosts a book drive called Accio Books! Last year, the Missoula Ministry of Magic donated over 200 books to the local Flagship after-school-program. This April, they plan to double this number. In addition, the group is planning a spring Quidditch tournament to help raise funds for Accio Books!

Her favorite part?

My favorite thing about the Missoula Ministry of Magic is coming together with amazing people to do great things. The members never fail to astound and inspire me with their generosity, compassion and thoughtfulness. Many don’t think of themselves as traditional activists, but grew up loving Harry Potter, Sherlock Holmes, Superman and other popular heroes and can find a place in the Harry Potter Alliance because it links the stories that they love to real-world, relevant social justice issues.

How to get involved:

We love new members! Muggles and purebloods, Gryffindors and Hufflepuffs, students and non-students, all are welcome! Those interested can email us at missoulaharrypotteralliance@gmail.com or visit www.missoulaministryofmagic.tumblr.com

New members also are encouraged to drop by a meeting. The Missoula Ministry of Magic meets every Sunday at 6 p.m. on the second floor of the UC and volunteers with local non-profit organizations each month.

Up ‘til Dawn

Miranda Fox, Executive Director 2014

Miranda Fox, Executive Director 2014

Up ‘til Dawn is a student-led philanthropy effort at the University of Montana that raises funds and awareness for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, based in Memphis, Tennessee. The group recruits teams of six students to raise money for the hospital and each student that meets their goal is invited to all all-night event. At this event, the teams compete in a series of competitions to win great prizes while they celebrate all their hard work and accomplishments throughout the semester. This year, over 175 students worked together to raise more than $35,000 for St. Jude.

Her favorite part?

I had the opportunity to go to Memphis during the summer of 2013. I was taking a picture outside of the hospital with posters of our UM social media hashtags and a woman and her daughter came to ask about them. Her daughter, Samantha, is a cancer survivor and they were there for her annual checkup. We spoke very briefly and parted ways. The next morning, I checked the UM Up ‘til Dawn Facebook and found that she had commented on our photo to tell us how our work helps to save children like Samantha. That really was the moment that made me realize how much bigger this is than myself and that the work we are doing for this organization actually makes a difference in the world.

How to get involved:

Up ‘til Dawn is always looking for motivated students who want to “stay up for good.” Email us at utd406@gmail.com or like us on Facebook to learn more.

To learn more about student groups at the University of Montana, check out the full list here.