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Friday, February 21, 2020

Opinion

Houston Hobbyist Guild: a space where the diverse flourish


The Houston Hobbyist Guild meets several nights during the week to play Dungeons and Dragons, Magic the Gathering and Nerf wars. The HHG is one group that promotes much needed diversity on campus. | Jiselle Santos/The Cougar

The Houston Hobbyist Guild meets several nights during the week to play Dungeons and Dragons, Magic the Gathering and Nerf wars. The HHG is one group that promotes much needed diversity on campus. | Jiselle Santos/The Cougar

The University prides itself on being one of the most diverse colleges in the nation, yet it could do more to promote student-run organizations that embrace a wide variety of cultures. The funding, promotion and opportunities are low for students to share a sense of connection wholly focused on hobbies and art creation and appreciation.

It is not easy to find an engaging and safe space on campus where you can meet a diverse group of people who share an interest in nerd culture. Enter the Houston Hobbyist Guild, a campus organization dedicated to maintaining an often forgotten aspect of what makes games so appealing: diversity. While one might assume that a group dedicated to nerd culture would not be open to new ideas that are not the case with HHG. 

HHG is an organization that embraces a variety of students from different races, gender and sexual orientations. This subculture is comprised of students who have a general love of board, card and video games. 

During the week members of the organization can participate in board games, Dungeons and Dragons and Magic the Gathering all around the student center. Within those niches is an explosion of humanity that runs the gauntlet of true diversity. 

The guild’s mission statement reads “Our goal is to create a community for UH students, faculty and friends to share their hobbies with others or discover new ones.” That sentiment is a belief to their core. The guild masters celebrate the fact that they attract people proud of their immigrant heritage and gender identity. 

HGG’s diversity is even more apparent when you look past the colorful characters their members become while playing D&D. This is good because it allows for ideas to spread among the community. I learned a lot listening to members about their culture, ideas and interests.  

I have personally had conversations getting familiar with members’ stories about their hometowns in Mexico. I had the opportunity to engage with others about their appreciation for podcasting. Some members even went into a complex discussion about understanding cartoons through the lens of gender fluidity, while others lamented about the absurdity of certain aspects of Japanese media as an exploration of the validity of a person’s identity. 

Even listening to the guild members talk about mathematics and probability is captivating. I can not deny how impressive it is to watch these people communicate in a language that is so foreign to a mediocre student such as myself.

From what I have seen, sharing space on campus with these colorful characters is one of the most beautiful sights to witness at UH. HHG’s dedication to cultivating a diverse group of gamers shows how students are accepting of those who are different. 

Opinion writer AK ALMoumen is a media production junior and can be reached at [email protected]

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