By Kim Leder
The Student Government Association (SGA) tried to combat the lack of unity among Rider students with its pin campaign but Diogo Azevedo, a sophomore accounting major, may have another solution.
When Azevedo arrived at Rider, he was eager to meet new people. Upon learning that there was no club that was purely social, Azevedo decided to take matters into his own hands. Thus, BranchOut was born to help members focus on both furthering their education while meeting friends and forging connections for the future.
With the help of Dean of Students Anthony Campbell, BranchOut has been cleared as an official club on campus. Plans have been set for the club to host events, starting as early as spring 2013.
After Azevedo discussed the potential idea with others, a name had to be decided upon. “BranchOut” was thought up while he and sophomore accounting major Brandon Rush were sitting outside of the Switlik Hall office. They hope the name will attract students who are interested in diversifying their social circle and making new friends.
Once the name was chosen, Azevedo called upon a few close friends of his to create the executive board: sophomore psychology major Kalyn Nevitt was selected to be vice president, sophomore Chris Mari Davis, a human resource management and management and leadership double major, is the chief financial officer and sophomore German major Adham Saber is the secretary. Freshman business major Marc Nanfara and senior secondary education major Chris Werner act as community chairs and Rush is in charge of public relations.
“We were talking about how the school needed new methods of getting students together and how there needed to be more things to do during the weekend,” BranchOut president Azevedo said. “What made us interested in starting this club was having the expectation that every student would have a chance to make a friend and expand their network.”
In keeping with the SGA’s recent attempts at school-wide unification, one of BranchOut’s primary objectives is to find people who share similar interests but may not normally interact.
“We bring all different clubs together in order to promote Rider unity,” Werner said. “We hope that students who want to get involved on campus but who are not sure where will start here. I think we will see new friends bond and student networking increase as students from different walks of life come together for common purposes.”
Providing a welcoming environment for students is the club’s main goal.
“There are no restrictions to join our club and it is a great way to meet new people,” Azevedo said. “There are no particular kinds of students BranchOut is looking for. We accept anyone who is interested in making connections and friends at Rider.”
Already in the works is a Battle of the Classes event and a murder mystery. BranchOut will also be partaking in International Week, where they will be serving different foods.
Although BranchOut is not yet known among many students, those already involved are excited to see it grow.
“My favorite thing about BranchOut is that people can be who they are and they won’t get judged or made fun of; we are all welcoming people,” Azevedo said. “My hope for this club is that we’ll be able to unite both campuses and be asked to do major events for other clubs.”
To get involved, students can attend general meetings, which are held every Sunday at 7:30 p.m. in the Mercer Room.
Printed in the 12-7-12 edition