Shared Interest Communities let like minded students connect

Kayla Swanson

Christopher Farley loves to dance, especially with his family.

“It’s kind of a tradition,” the West Moreland, Tenn., freshman said. “Every time we have family come over or something, we turn on the music and just dance and have fun.”

Farley said his love for all types of dance and his desire to turn students away from alcohol and drugs motivated him to become the student director for Save the Last Dance, a shared interest community based out of Pearce Ford Tower.

The group will host dances as an outlet for students who need to get away from college stress without having to turn to drugs and alcohol, Farley said.

Shared interested communities are groups of students in the same residence hall with the similar interests, Minnette Huck, Housing and Residence Life coordinator, said.

While the shared interest communities are student driven, Huck said HRL would fund them.

“We wanted something for the students to really create and take on, something that’s their own,” she said. “We didn’t want anything we felt like the students needed — we didn’t want to push anything on them.”

Another shared interest community, Magic of Mac, is already underway Cincinnati senior Ryan Hickey said.

The group meets every Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the McCormack Hall lobby to play the card game Magic: The Gathering.

Hickey is in charge of the community, which he said has been happening anyway since his freshman year, but applied to be a shared interest community to get more publicity.

“We’re going to the same things we’ve been doing for the past four years,” he said. “We meet in the lobby at least once a week, most of the time it ends being two or three times a week and then we also do community fundraising.”

Hickey said that past two years the group has done fundraisers for the Kelly Autism Program, but if other members want to fundraise for other groups they can as well.

Shared interest communities will replace Outdoor Rec, Men of Distinction and Women of Western programs, Huck said.

“Those were initiatives sort of based around staff focuses, what people were interested in, and we want it to be what students were interested in,” Huck said.

“We just wanted to take a new view this year.”