By DELLA HETHCOX
Ball Circle bustled as new and returning students flocked around club
tables during this semester’s Club Carnival, all eager to find new
clubs to join on the swelteringly hot August evening.
Around 100 recognized University of Mary Washington clubs claimed
tables in front of the new University Center, enticing UMW’s largest
ever freshman class with a variety of club options.
Students of all years and majors found clubs to join, from sports to
campus faith to art clubs, interests of all types were represented by
the diverse student body.
Fan favorites such as BellACappella and Eagle Bhangra hosted tables,
for the freshman and transfer students this event showcased the
diversity of UMW’s campus as well as the enthusiasm of its students.
UMW has had an active club community since its beginning, a quick
search through the digital archives show black and white photographs
of students engaged in activities ranging from horse riding,
synchronized swimming and foreign language clubs.
For UMW’s Quidditch Club and the Enigma Color Guard Club, the Club
Carnival proved to be a success as each club recruited new members for
the upcoming year and promoted their club missions.
The UMW Quidditch Club is a relatively new club, established at UMW in
2013 and it became an official sports club last year, said current
President Hallie Heinzen, a sophomore geography major. The club was
originally started by former student Alex Stoneburner and Ted Stanton,
the club’s current secretary.
Unfamiliar with quidditch? This sport was created by JK Rowling for
her fictional Harry Potter series. In 2005, students at Middlebury
College in Vermont turned this fictional sport into reality. By 2010,
United States Quidditch became an incorporated nonprofit and continues
to grow as college campuses adopt this new sport.
Quidditch isn’t just for Potterheads. “We get a lot of people who have
read and love the Harry Potter series, but everyone soon realizes how
much more Quidditch has become,” Heinzen said . “We also get people
who looking for a different kind of sport, and people with various
athletic talents looking for a new challenge.”
Club Carnival proved to be a success for this club, over 90 signatures
were collected from prospective members. Although the sport started as
a game between friends who loved the world of Harry Potter, Quidditch
has grown into much more than a fandom sport.
Even though this sport exists because of Harry Potter, doesn’t mean
this club takes themselves any less seriously. “We really want to
stress to people that Quidditch is a serious sport. While we accept
anyone who wants to play, we expect that you will do your best when
you come to practice…the Quidditch community is the most welcoming
I’ve ever been a part of. Everyone knows each other, or gets to know
each other quickly, which makes tournaments friendly and fun.”
The UMW Quidditch Club encourages anyone interested to join. “We don’t
have any requirements for joining, and we don’t have try-outs,”
Heinzen said. “We let anyone in any shape, with any athletic
abilities, play. That’s one of our main policies, we are completely
The Quidditch Club plans to sign up to be a USQ official team, which
means they will be able to compete at regional competitions. The club
has competed against other Mid-Atlantic teams and won a tournament in
January 2014 at the University of North Carolina Greensboro. “We’re
small, but tough, and our team is very close and welcoming,” Heinzen
What matters more for a club, size or enthusiasm? For the Enigma
Colorguard, a small club means a tight knit, passionate community.
Completely run by students, this club consists of 11 current members.
Janelle Pierangelino, a junior creative writing and communications
double major, said that Club Carnival was profitable for their club,
and they collected signatures from many interested students.
Created in 2002, Enigma Color Guard strives to create a memorable
performance for the audience and members,Pierangelino said. “This club
is about performing, but at the same time it is about having fun and
making lasting memories and friendships along the way.”
“The world enigma means ‘puzzle’, so every person that comes in adds
their own unique, individual piece to it and together we work towards
exceeding our own limitations and always strive to be better,”
Pierangelino said, explaining the meaning behind the club’s name.
Color Guard clubs have long been a part of UMW’s campus history,
before the school became co-ed during the mid 20th century. According
to the club’s official UMW web page, “Color guard, sometimes known as
“the sport of the arts” is a combination of skills including spinning
flags, rifles, and sabers, dancing and acting.”
Enigma is a competitive club, they have competed in Northern Virginia.
Their performances are critiqued on their routines, which include
their equipment, movement, design analysis and general effect,
according to Pierangelino.
Any interested students are encouraged to attend their weekly interest
sessions that meet on Mondays and students of any skill level are
welcome to join.
Not only does Club Carnival introduce students of all interests to
like-minded clubs, but it highlights the enthusiasm and diversity of
UMW’s student body. Whether a club is just beginning or has been a
long established organization, these student communities are a great
place to make friends and learn more about what it means to be an