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Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Opinion

We need more art clubs on campus


There needs to be an increase in art clubs on campus. | Kathryn Lenihan/The Cougar

There needs to be an increase in art clubs on campus. | Kathryn Lenihan/The Cougar

At Cat’s Back this year, it seemed media appreciation and art-making clubs were sparse. The University of Houston needs more art-eccentric organizations on campus. Any art clubs on campus are either too small, underfunded or unorganized.

On Get Involved, there are very few mentions of clubs that promote experiences outside of entrepreneurship or specific majors. Scrolling down a list of 78 clubs related to liberal arts, all the clubs that either promote the arts or engage in making content are reduced to the single digits, which is disappointing. 

When using the search function on the site to look up terms like “art” or “entertainment,” you get lists headlined by CoogTV and Coog Radio. Yet there is a lack of space for students to interact with others who share their passion or want to create without the pressure of deadlines or publishing.

There are a few clubs that have gained some traction, such as the UH Film Club, Painting Club, Music Club and Photography Club, each with their own issues. The UH Film Club and Painting Club are struggling with funding, asking their members for fees to get special events or use equipment, respectively. The Music Club is highly unadvertised, and the Photography Club had to deal with leadership shake and massive confusion. 

Other clubs on campus that promote similar activities are all but dead with either a single officer or none at all. Most students hoping to talk about activities outside their studies have to join ethnic clubs that tend to have built-in restrictions due to their important purpose of promoting minority cultures. 

These issues are by no means on the shoulders of the students hoping to create these spaces. The University does not appear motivated to guide or support these organizations with events specific to them or encourage students to seek them out. Even the process of creation is not accessible, as many students want places that promote books, prose and even art-making studios for film and music. 

This responsibility should be taken seriously by art departments as well to inject a structured recreational avenue for their students seeking to test out their learned skills. A huge swath of activities to engage in are offered to business and STEM majors, but art majors are not afforded the same level of choice on campus.

Walking by the tables at Cat’s Back was an arduous task of trying to weed out art appreciation organizations from religious, political and leadership ones. Many art clubs are asked if they offer activities beyond their financial capabilities, such as those involving equipment and tools. The shock of many students when, in the middle of STEM tables, an art club pops up is very jarring. These clubs deserve an accessible area of the Recreation Center.

The University of Houston has an opportunity to cultivate a passionate core of its student body to engage with the campus beyond disjointed events with no consistency. This should be a priority for students to demand from their student government as well. 

Opinion writer AK Almoumen is a media production junior and can be reached at opinion@thedailycougar.com.

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