By Michael Samuels 09F
There was the Comic Collective, the Local Foods Initiative, and the Primitive Skills Club. SJP (Students for Justice in Palestine) sat next to SPICI (Students Promoting Israel Culture and Information), next to Students For a Just and Stable Future, next to Building Awareness Across Bars. There was the Women’s Health Collective, the Genderqueer/Trans Spectrum Student Alliance, Shake and Bake (a club that gets together to bake pies and read Shakespeare) and RAÍCES (a group to promote Latino unity and heritage). The Gin & Tonics, an a cappella group, performed a Lady Gaga medley over the din.
The event was Hampfest, which takes place at the beginning of every semester and is a showcase of every student group at Hampshire—and an experience in itself. It was held September 15 in the Robert Crown Center.
“It’s like condensed chaos,” says Jo Nguyen 09F from The Climax, one of Hampshire’s student newspapers. She explains that Hampfest, like Hampshire, is about “throwing a bunch of people together” with the freedom to find what they want to pursue. “We don’t force anyone [to join a club],” she emphasizes. “They sign up of their own free will, or we bribe them.”
Getting new members wasn’t hard this fall. There were “hoards of enthusiastic freshmen,” observe Sarah Farnsworth-Kumli 09S and Haley Gove 08F of The Fruity Juicers, a new club for juicing fruits and vegetables.
“[Hampfest] lets a lot of people know there are other people out there with the same interests as them,” adds Lauren Casey 09F of the Pre-Health Professions Club, a group for students pursuing careers in health-related fields. She holds up a full sign-up sheet: “We had no idea there were this many premed students.”
Hampfest isn’t just for finding other people with the same interests. It’s also for discovering things you weren’t even looking for. Becca Wefald 10F explains her strategy is to sign up for a huge number of clubs, and then whittle it down later. Marisa Gold 10F agrees: “My email’s going to be inundated with ‘Come do yoga!’ ‘Come juggle!’ ‘Come write!’ ‘Come do improv!’” she says excitedly.
Rachel Friedman 09F, who was at Hampfest to help represent both the Gin & Tonics and the Theatre Community, says she was happy with the turnout. Then she adds, “Watch out; guy on a unicycle.”