Extracurricular activities are nothing new, but some students seek out unusual or distinctive activities to fill the hours between classes. This alphabetical list of 10 extraordinary extracurriculars can give students in both traditional and online degree programs a taste of life outside lectures, labs and homework.
- Fine Cheese Club: The Fine Cheese Club of Scripps College, located in Claremont, CA, is a relatively new phenomenon, having been established only a few years ago, according to The Scripps Voice. Semimonthly meetings center on understanding, appreciating and enjoying gourmet cheese from all over the world. These connoisseurs experiment with pairing exotic and fascinating cheeses with complements such as dried fruit, crackers and chocolate. Members of the club have even tried making their own dairy products, from spreadable home-aged cheeses to tart yogurt.
- Freewill Folk Society: The Freewill Folk Society at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine helps students experience American folk traditions, such as bluegrass music, partner dancing, group singing and knitting. The society holds monthly dance events throughout the school year, and they form the driving force behind the annual Bates Community Folk Festival, which celebrated its third anniversary in 2013. Once in a while, students can escape the stress of their studies and enjoy partner dancing to live music, with a caller guiding them through the moves.
- Go Club: To the uninitiated, the Go Club at Brown University might sound like a student organization assembled in support of green traffic lights. Although that would certainly qualify as unique, these students on the Providence, RI campus are fans of an ancient game played with black and white stones. This strategy game originated in China between 3,000 and 4,000 years ago, took Japan by storm and continues to enthrall players of diverse ages and skill levels today. The club provides plenty of web-based resources, so you can dig into the tactics of the game.
- Humans vs. Zombies: Students looking for an all-out, real-time survival-horror experience can find it in Humans vs. Zombies, a worldwide college activity that's about as extracurricular as it gets. Students on the human side arm themselves with sock grenades and foam dart blasters and try to keep the other side from laying hands on them and turning them into zombies. The game was created at Goucher College in Baltimore, MD in 2005 and is associated with Gnarwhal Studios.
- Medieval Renaissance Club: If you find yourself counting the days until the Renaissance Faire comes back to your town, then you might appreciate the Medieval Renaissance Club at Kutztown University in Kutztown, PA. Established in 1988, this group of students feels that one festival a year doesn't offer enough revelry. The club puts on a number of events, including an annual dinner theater, monthly Medieval Mayhem Renaissance Revelry (MMRR) weekends and its own yearly fair. Club members also travel together to the annual Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire.
- ONE Unicycle Club: Transportation adventurers at the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities (Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN) can join ONE Unicycle Club to learn about the advantages of life on one wheel. As stated in Minnesota Daily, club founder Brent Barghahn had been unicycling for years when he started at the university in 2011, and his love for the freewheeling sport caught on before long. The group currently meets weekly for riding sessions and is considering the possibility of going on longer unicycle trips in the future.
- The Appalachian Nerd Network: One organization at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC, understands that some students have, well, nerdy interests. Fans of genres such as science fiction, video games, comics and anime can celebrate being a geek in the Appalachian Nerd Network, whose mission is to facilitate camaraderie among members. The club holds meetings every one to two weeks and throws a number of monthly events, including a second chance prom, a game-show style trivia contest and an all-day gathering known as NerdCon.
- Tree Musketeers: Students at Northern Michigan University in Marquette, MI are encouraged to get back to their roots with Tree Musketeers, a group dedicated to the art and the science of climbing trees. Tree Musketeers takes expeditions into the nearby woods to engage in speed climbing, discover different types of trees and teach new members how to use "pingling" techniques to move between trees using branches. The focus is on advancing members' tree-climbing skills and familiarizing students with the wilderness areas around campus.
- Underwater Hockey Club: Strong swimmers with a taste for physical competition might want to find an Underwater Hockey Club similar to the one at George Mason University in Fairfax, VA. Underwater hockey is typically played in a natatorium, where two teams use foot-long sticks to slide a weighted puck along the bottom of the pool and into their opponent's goal, as described by an article in the George Mason University News. These snorkeled athletes play for more than just fun, aiming to make a strong showing against other regional squads at the U.S. underwater hockey nationals. There's even an Underwater Hockey World Championship to be chased for players with global ambition.
- Wizards and Muggles: For legions of Harry Potter fans, clubs such as Wizards and Muggles at The College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, VA are no-brainers. Each semester begins with a Sorting Ceremony that determines the wizardly house to which each student belongs. The houses engage in friendly competition over the course of the semester to decide the winner of the House Cup. Dedicated Harry Potter fans can join the university's quidditch team and potentially earn house points in the process.
These are not the only unusual organizations for students with a particular taste in fun, so don't hesitate to do more research, if your specific interest isn't listed here. Students taking the bulk of their courses online can especially benefit from some extracurricular activity, if they can find the time. Also, if your school doesn't have the option for your favorite offbeat activity, remember that all of these groups had to start somewhere. Maybe you could start a club that becomes a college tradition.