Students at our multicultural university who bump into people from different places every day may share the same interests and not even know it. This year’s doubling of campus clubs, however, gives more variety for everyone.

The new campus opening this winter allowed room for more clubs and social activities, Student Council President Adi Hadzic said.

“It is a great opportunity for students to learn more about the people they study with as well as participate in activities which they enjoy doing in their free time,” said Hadzic.

The new clubs are the AAU Program Board, the Chess Club, the Cooking Club, Photography Club and the Yoga Club, which are all run by students. The other six clubs – the Basketball, Football, Dance, Film, Volunteering and Diplomatic clubs have existed for more than a year. However, the Diplomatic and Volunteering clubs have not met this semester, according to Martin Ranninger, Student Council Secretary.

Marco Pascucci, the Chess Club’s founder, said he decided to open the club because of a long passion for the game. The first club session a few weeks ago saw a total of eight people attend.

“It was great to see some people turn up although I would have loved to see a few more come,” said Pascucci. “Chess is a great game and although it is intellectually challenging, it is also very fun to play.”

“I created this club not for intellectuals but for people from all backgrounds, even those who have never heard of chess before,” he added.  “It’s a great way to get people to learn about this ancient board game and to become acquainted with one another.”

Another new club, the AAU Program Board, organizes student trips in addition to those offered by the Student Council.

AAU Program Board spokesperson Pavel Mares said he wanted to create a club that focuses on students being involved in activities outside the university in order to promote student bonding.

“The Program Board focuses on activities suggested to us both by our board members and by students at the university,” he said.  “Our club basically focuses on promoting student life away from the hard studies they have to do and get a breath of fresh air.” A recent Prague Sea World trip drew 25 students, he added. “It was a great start.”

One student, Simone Bertolone, an IR major at AAU who attended the Sea World trip, said he appreciated that it was free thanks to a sponsorship from Cobbler’s Bakery. He said the club was doing well and he would like to see more trips like these. A recent hiking trip to Czech Switzerland filled an entire coach with about 60 people, and at press time a go-karting trip outside the city center was taking place.

“Our main aim is to get the best prices for students while also providing them with a memorable experience with the Program Board, and we have done so and will continue to do so,” Mares said

Other students are joining the Yoga Club, run by Ibrahim Timurtas, an AAU M.A. student. “I have been doing yoga for many years now and I thought sharing my knowledge of yoga with students would promote their fitness, health and flexibility,” he said.

“Yoga focuses on the mind and body, and always pushes people to try new techniques and reach hard goals,” Timurtas said. “It is essentially a workout and a form of relaxation for people who are stressed and looking for a release.” It also helps with study habits, he added. “A healthy body and mind stays much longer in focus.” The club has held nine sessions so far.