Baylee Vensey is a junior at TMCC High School and President of the TMCC Gardening Club. She’s held the position for a year, and has kept club members engaged during the time of COVID-19 and remote learning through the club’s Instagram account, where she has posted videos of Horned Worms (which typically feast on nightshades), setting up Zoom meetings and building a club website.
“I like plants. I think they are fun,” she said, admitting that plants have been a part of her life and family. As President of the Gardening Club, Vensey has lead the decision-making process for the upcoming planting season, helping to select what seeds club members will plant and foster at home, and that will be planted in the community garden on the Dandini Campus once the snow has melted off nearby Peavine (local lore for when it’s “safe” to put your tomatoes out.)
“I’m really looking forward to when you plant everything, and when it becomes harvest season,” she said. “That’s when it’s going to get really exciting.” This year, the Gardening Club has seeds for zucchini, a wide variety of tomatoes, bell peppers, peas, two types of pumpkins, gourds, onion and garlic.
Prior to COVID-19 and the shift to remote learning, the produce harvested from the garden was donated to TMCC’s food pantry, Wizard’s Warehouse. “It was fun to hear the feedback from people who didn’t know we have a Gardening Club at TMCC,” said Club Advisor Helen Scott.
Vensey, too, has noticed that it’s time to get the word out about the Gardening Club, and other Recognized Student Organizations (RSOs) at TMCC. “It’s really fascinating because people don’t even know [about the club], which really goes for a lot of things here at the college. I mean, students are here part-time so they kind of just come for their class and leave,” she said.
However, for students who want to become a part of a college community, joining a club can be the perfect way to do that, even during this time of remote learning. “So I think clubs are a unique opportunity for students to find the uniqueness in themselves and to share that with others who have similar interests,” said Scott. “The Gardening Club brings all kinds of people together. We have a lot of fun with that.”
In addition to growing sharing a love of plants, the Gardening Club is working on improving the garden space by working with the Facilities and Capital Planning Department on the construction of a new fence and a shed for storing the gardening tools. Beyond the hands-in-the-dirt work, though, the club offers students a way to enrich their education.
“I think you gain a sense of belonging while you’re getting your education if you join a club,” said Scott. “And that could lead to a good study mate. You’re never going to know what kind of networking and connections [joining a] club could allow you unless you try it out.”
Down to Business with the BE Club
If you like the color green not because of your thumb but because it signals prosperity and monetary success, TMCC’s Business and Entrepreneurship Club (or “BE Club” for short) is right up your alley. “We provide opportunities for all students of every major who are interested in Business and Entrepreneurship,” said Faculty Advisor Dr. Kofi Poku, who remarked that currently, club members range from psychology, art, biology and, as you’d expect, business majors. No matter your major, anyone with an interest in the wide world of business is welcome.
The club’s focus for Spring 2021 will be “Identify Resources for Wealth Creation and Giving Back to the Community”; the monthly meetings will offer club participants presentations by guest speakers who are experts and practitioners.
The next BE Club Meeting, which happens on March 11 at 2 p.m. via Zoom, will focus on how students can locate resources to support their business success. “We are bringing people who are practitioners...they are doing it in the field. They have the theoretical and the practical know-how… we just cannot wait to have them,” said Poku.
April’s meeting, which happens on April 8 at 2 p.m., will invite a guest speaker to speak on social media marketing. “She will show us how we can market our business on social media, market ourselves and build our brands. These are necessary skills in our current dispensation,” said Poku.
To meet the second half of its focus on giving back to the community, the BE Club will partner with a local NGO that makes and distributes burritos to underserved communities.
Bottom line: If you’re looking to develop yourself as an entrepreneur or as a leader in your community, the BE Club might be just the ticket for you. “There are many leadership opportunities and ways that they can contribute to helping and giving back, so anyone is welcome to join us,” said Poku.
Creating a Professional Community
While some student clubs bring people with similar interests together (or can even be “just for fun”), there are also professional clubs that bring students pursuing a specific major together. One example at TMCC is the Student American Dental Hygienists Association (SADHA), of which Lyndie Anderson is President and Ariadne Gonzalez serves as Treasurer.
“SADHA allows both the first-year and second-year students to come together,” said Anderson. “We all have very different schedules, so it’s really nice that once a month we can meet, and get on the same page.” SADHA meetings consist of ongoing education on dental hygiene products and technologies. The club has hosted guest speakers from Oral-B and Crest. Guest speakers have also been other dental hygienists in the community who speak to the students about what they can expect from their profession after they graduate.
The club also does quite a lot of community service and fundraising. Last semester, SADHA donated to “Safe Embrace,” a shelter for those who have been victims of domestic violence. This semester, SADHA is raising funds for the Food Bank of Northern Nevada and gathering donations for the Children’s Cabinet. In the 2019 holiday season, they also participated in the “Holiday with a Hero” charity, which paired children in need with a professional in public service or a student in one of tehse high-demand fields to complete their holiday shopping.
Gonzalez named the “Holiday with a Hero” the most memorable she’s experienced as a SADHA member. “You’re paired with a child to help them do some holiday shopping. They have a $100 gift card to Walmart. It was really humbling how so many of those kids weren’t worried about getting presents for themselves. They were worried about buying a present for a family member. Even though we would ask what do you need-- a jacket? food? The kids...they were worried about their mom or sibling. And that was a really great experience, and it really made me appreciate what I have, and [I realized the importance of] not taking things for granted,” said Gonzalez.
Even though dental hygiene students continue to meet for in-person clinical instruction under social distancing and safety protocols, SADHA has helped to foster a sense of community and connection despite the ongoing pandemic. “SADHA is like a support group during these COVID times, because it’s nice to have a group where we all understand what we are going through… Of course, we can always reach out to friends and family, but sometimes they don’t understand because we’re the only ones going through [the dental hygiene program.] The meetings also help us to stay informed on how we are going to be tested, because, that, too, has changed because of COVID-19,” said Gonzalez.
For Anderson, too, “community” is at the heart of what she’s gained from SADHA: both giving back through various community service projects and maintaining a sense of community within the program with other students and the instructors.
“I love being a part of SADHA because... it brings all of us together now as students. And then after we graduate, as a part of ADHA, and it opens up more opportunities to reach out to the community and other hygienists. It’s a really awesome association,” said Anderson.
But, like other RSOs, SADHA has provided its members with opportunities to hone their skills in teamwork, communication, and leadership. “I was always scared to talk in front of other people, and now I have to do it every month in front of a bunch of people,” said Anderson. “It helps a lot to be in an organized community, and to work together toward a common goal.”
Why Join a Club? The Top Three Reasons
No matter where your interests lie, joining a club can help you in surprising ways. We’ve highlighted just a few reasons that, if nothing else, can inspire you to participate in the Virtual Club Fair that happens on Thursday, Feb. 18 from 2–4 p.m.
- Networking. When you come to college, there’s no guarantee your friends from high school will be there. And, in most cases, they won’t be. Joining a club can help you to form that social network we all need for our overall health and wellness. From there, you can meet others who share your interests who can become potential study-buddies or, best case scenario, friends.
- Working in teams. We know, we know: sometimes the idea of working in teams can surface nightmares from high school when you end up doing the work that was intended for four people. However, learning to work effectively with others—without taking over, or without allowing others to plow you down with their enthusiasm—is a part of becoming a professional in any field. A club can prepare you to face a wide variety of social dynamics and situations that you’re bound to encounter in the “real world.”
- Make the world a better place. While each of us has individual goals for ourselves (to graduate, to get a certain kind of job, etc.) a club offers you the unique opportunity to accomplish something that can have a positive impact on others. Whether that’s creating a community garden, giving back to those in need or creating new opportunities for other students, accomplishing something positive beyond the scope of your own goals can be incredibly rewarding. Plus, this could provide you a glimpse of all the wonderful things you are truly capable of achieving.
If you participate in the Virtual Club Fair by visiting two of TMCC’s many RSOs, you will also be entered in a raffle where you could win a free TMCC T-shirt, a TMCC Beanie or the grand prize: a free three-credit class at TMCC.
For more information about the Virtual Club Fair, contact the Student Government Association (SGA) at 775-673-7203.