Hunter has hundreds of student clubs, undergraduate and graduate, at its main campus at 68th and Lexington Avenue, Upper West Side, Manhattan, and they provide opportunities for students to enjoy a social life that can be as ripe as those for students at residential campuses, such as NYU and Columbia University and the like – sans the exorbitant educational expenses, of course.
Their areas of interests ranged from faith based, fraternities, sororities, honor societies, performing arts, publications and media, service learning and special interest. Because of the scourge caused by the Pandemic for more than two years, it’s hard to know just how the clubs are doing.
This writer was assigned to do a preliminary check of the club scene and maybe even select a club to profile if an opportunity arose. I was told that the assignment could be a good way for a first-year undergrad like me to learn about campus life as well as the social life possible for students.
My J-classroom-lab – as ram shackled as it is – can be found in Room 470 of the North Building where I was told that somewhere in Thomas Hunter Hall I should be able to find the locale of Hunter’s student clubs. And off I was sent with instructions to detail my trek. It was a late early in the semester on an afternoon when there’s not much of the hustle bustle traffic of students, faculty and staff moving through the corridors of the College to various places.
In Thomas Hunter Hall I came across the campus student union in Room 208. Three televisions were mounted on a wall of the union; and the place seemed empty. Next to the televisions were elevators. The area was under construction. Yellow tape similar to that used by first responders and police at crime scenes stood out. Room 206 is set up for students who need to print out resumés, assignments and whatever they please. A conference room for club meetings is located two doors down at Room 209.
There is also game room and a clothing & shoes drop box was also at the same place. The headquarters for Undergraduate Student Government is in Room 201 and the College Association Board is in Room 203. Both were connected to the Office of Student Activities, Room 202.
Regarding USG – Undergraduate Student Government: It is, according to an online description: “The officially recognized, democratically elected student representation for all Hunter undergraduate, matriculated and non-matriculated students. It is responsible for the protection of students’ rights, students’ welfare, student involvement in academic policy and curriculum formation, and an awareness of local, national and international affairs of significance to students.”
The College Association Board is a 13-member committee responsible for the supervision and review of student activity fee supported budgets. The 13 members include four administrators, three faculty members and six student members. Budgets from student activity fee supported groups are reviewed for conformance with a section of the CUNY Board of Trustees Bylaws for student clubs and fees.
A water fountain, two fire extinguishers/fire hoses were on opposite sides of the wall, and there is an audio speaker in the Student Union for music and six garbage cans are scattered around the hallway.
I didn’t see any club action; eventually, call it fate if you want, I met Kuenley Dorji walking towards the elevators. Did he know where the clubs were? He did and offered to help me on my quest after I explained my mission. We rode the elevator to the fourth floor and made it to where all the religious clubs were located.
We reached the Hinduism Club, Room 416, where we met the president of the club, Kishan Ramrattan. Dorji and I were asked to remove our shoes before we entered. Why? We were told that the club room was a spiritual place.
The club room had two couches and two more rugs and we was greeted by the treasurer, Shirvan Persad. A club member Tanjum showed us around; she also guided us to where the rules were displayed and explained what they were about. Lagno told me that the club celebrated once every three months and members prayed to their gods, the prayer sessions included piano music and decorating the Diya.
A Diya symbolizes goodness and purity, and lighting them denotes dispelling darkness and going into the light a sense of purity. I was told the Diya is celebrated on the days of the new moons, a time of darkness everywhere; lighting these lamps is a means to get rid of darkness. Since members aren’t allowed to light real candles, club members use artificial ones. I was also introduced to four members and talked for a while about the classes we were taking and where we were from.
I will be writing more articles about clubs, club life at Hunter.
Abigail Jean can be reached at ABIGAIL.JEAN31@myhunter.cuny.edu