By Kimberly Sebring, Contributing Writer
For students looking to get plugged into the Lee University campus this semester, opportunities are available through new or revamped clubs such as mental health, photography and Psi Chi. At the core of each one of these clubs is a strong desire to get Lee students connected on campus while providing opportunities for students to learn and share from one another.
Laine Ansel, founder and co-president of the mental health club, said that changes have been implemented since the club's debut in April and that the club has received great campus response.
'I didn't realize how much our campus needed [the club] and so it's been really cool seeing how much God has worked and how desperate our campus is for this,' Ansel said.
The club encourages students to talk about mental health and well-being while getting them connected to any help or support they may need.
'We really want to eliminate stigma surrounding mental health and mental illness, as well as help seek behaviors like counseling or getting help for yourself,' Ansel said, 'I really want to create a safe environment on campus where people can bring these things out and not get judged for it.'
Ansel also wants to see student leaders in the club step up, and people to 'feel strong in being vulnerable and raw' with each other.
'We have a campus full of people struggling with different things and they're going at it alone'[responses like] 'get over it' or 'pray harder' aren't the right answers, so I think it's important that we educate ourselves [and] open up in order to encourage other people to open up,' Ansel said.
The mental health club is new to Lee's campus, and currently holds meetings every other Tuesday at 4 p.m. in room 101 in the Humanities building.
The club also plans to host events each semester, including a Suicide Awareness event on Thursday, Sept. 10 at 8 p.m. in Alumni Park that will honor those who have been lost to or currently struggle with suicide.
Anyone is welcome to join the mental health club, and may contact Laine Ansel at firstname.lastname@example.org.
An opportunity for students interested in media is the Photography Club, which Student Media is 'resurrecting' and revamping.
Managing Photo Editor and Co-Founder Jaclyn DeVries said, 'We had a lot of interest at Club Lee'we're inviting people who are interested in photography to the club.'
The club plans to feature some interesting and insightful events this year, as well as invite students to snap photos around Cleveland.
'We're going to have seminars [featuring] professional photographers in the Cleveland-Chattanooga area, and hopefully people from Nashville Skype in to teach us new tricks' there's going to be lots of new things to learn and new people to learn from,' DeVries said.
Students who join the club may also gain access to new equipment to use for taking photos, and could potentially be published in student media.
While the club is still in the works, it seeks to get students acquainted with photography and establish connections through student media.
'It's a great way to be involved, even if you don't know much about photography' we love having volunteers and contributing writers,' DeVries said.
The photography club also plans on establishing student overseers to lead monthly meetings.
'We like to put people who come to the meetings in charge so it's like a student-led organization' the purpose is for us to learn more and enjoy creating something together [while] growing as individuals,' DeVries said.
The first official meeting is expected to take place on Wednesday, Sept. 23 and another one following it in October. For more information about the club, stop by the Student Media office in the Communication Arts building, or email email@example.com.
For students who are seeking to get involved with the psychology department, the Psi Chi club is offering several events this semester that will explore topics such as sexuality, graduate school and others.
Psi Chi, a National Honor Society for psychology, has been in existence on campus for quite some time but is in the process of being revamped in many ways.
Vice President Micayla French said, 'We really want to get students to engage in the psychology department more than we have in the past'we are taking on more responsibility and accountability as the cabinet and we're going to make sure that students have [an] avenue to connect with the psychology department and with the professors.'
Additionally, the club is looking to have an impact on the surrounding community as they plan on developing some ideas for service.
'One of the things we'd like to look at is getting involved and doing service as a cabinet and opening that opportunity up to people in Psi Chi, but so far none of that has been organized'it's just something that we're starting up this semester,' French said.
The success of their Welcome Back Bonfire and a lot of interest expressed at their booth at Club Lee have made a promising start this semester.
The club's next event is 'Sexy Christians' on Wednesday, Sept. 16 at 6 p.m., which will talk about how sexuality relates to the Christian faith.
Any student, whether involved or uninvolved with Psi Chi, is welcome at the club's events.
'I think that interdisciplinary conversation is very valuable, and so I would encourage anybody with any interest to come out and join us,' French said.
Students who are interested in joining Psi Chi must fill out an application, which can be found outside of Fisher's office, room 303 in the Humanities building.
'Joining Psi Chi is a great opportunity for networking students' [it] also offers lots of scholarships and grants for students who get plugged in with their community,' French said.
Members are recognized nationally and also receive access to various psychology publications such as 'Eye on Psi Chi' and the 'Psi Chi Journal of Undergraduate Research. '