Trying out swing dancing, zombie hunting and raw meals just got easier

Special interest activities, such as hooping on the quad and Friday board game nights, are tucked into every corner of MU.


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College isn’t all studying and Netflix binging. Branch out, look in the right places, and you could find yourself tasting raw meals, slaying zombies or swing dancing the night away with MU’s special interest organizations.

Raw Food Club

Skip the noodles; bring on the “zoodles.” The Raw Food Club takes healthy eating back to its roots with a fresh new twist.

Students are introduced to meals consisting of raw foods — whole, unrefined, plant-based foods — which they’re encouraged to incorporate into their diet. From strawberries dipped in whipped coconut cream to spiralized zucchini noodles, or “zoodles,” there is no shortage of creativity that goes into producing these healthy dishes.

“It’s no shocker that it’s important to incorporate as many raw foods into the diet as possible (aka eat your fruits and veggies),” Raw Food Club President Isabel McNeill said in an email. “Studies show that incorporating more fruits and vegetables in the diet helps fights diseases, improves senses, and lowers blood pressure and much more.”

However, the club does not encourage students to consume only raw foods, simply to build more raw meals into their diets. McNeill acknowledged that it’s not always easy to access raw foods living on a college campus and on a budget, which caused her and Vice President Brooke Cerne to start the organization this year. At each meeting, they plan to not only prepare a raw food dish, but to also discuss the health benefits and unique facts of each ingredient used in the meal.

“For example, for the first meeting we will serve banana ice cream (frozen banana pureed),” McNeill wrote in the email. “Bananas were the number one food item sold at Wal-Mart last year, they are possibly going extinct, and bananas are naturally radioactive.”

To learn more about the Raw Food Club, students can visit its website for recipes, meeting dates, related events and more. The first meeting will take place at 7 p.m. on Sept. 6 in Gwynn Hall 223.

MU Board Game Club

No plans on a Friday night? Bust out the board games and spend a few hours in the Student Center with the MU Board Game Club. It’s free, easy to join (just show up) and a sure way to meet new people on campus.

“Right now I think we’re just bringing in as many games as we can think of … any games that people have just sitting on their shelves,” club member Trevor Gillespie said. “Sometimes people are just kind of brushing the dust off the games they haven’t played with a group of people in forever, so right now we’re kind of in the experimental place, just to try everything we can.”

From classic Monopoly to the most obscure card games, there’s no shortage of variety. The club encourages members to bring their own games to share and with so many options available, there’s bound to be a bit of something for everyone.

“Usually it’s those games that someone bought because it looked interesting for like $20 at a yard sale or something like that,” Gillespie said. “I don’t think I’ve even played a single game that I’ve heard of before.”

Hang out with the group in the Student Center and join in on a board game by stopping by at 5 p.m. on Fridays.

Mizzou Hoop Group

Self-described as a group “by flow artists, for flow artists,” the Mizzou Hoop Group is an all-inclusive student organization based on dancing with props.

“Overall we aim to foster an environment for all flow artists, not just hoopers,” President Jackie Gajda said in an email. “You’ll see many other props like juggling clubs, fans, staves and many more. Flow arts are gaining in popularity recently, and we love integrating new members into our community.”

As Friday night rolls around and students unwind for the weekend, MHG members gather for evening spin jams on the quad. Seasoned hoopers often bring personal LED hoops that light up the evening, and for public use, regular hoops and day props are available as well.

“We listen to music and practice,” Gajda said. “Impromptu dance workshops often happen at spin jams. We also occasionally have dance instructors come in to teach professional workshops. Those usually last multiple hours with multiple curriculums.”

To learn more about MHG and get involved with flow activities in the area, visit the Mizzou Hoop Group’s Facebook page. The page features information on the group’s spin jams, flow festivals in the area, off-campus fire spin jams and shows where the group is performing.

Humans vs. Zombies

With socks and Nerf guns as the only means of self-defense, all players are fair game in Humans vs. Zombies, a weeklong game of moderated tag that brings out nearly 300 students to survive the spreading “zombie outbreak.”

“Basically what I say is you get out of it what you want to put into it,” Humans vs. Zombies moderator Mitchell Bird said. “There’s some guys who you know will pay upwards of anywhere from $20-100 to [modify] a Nerf gun so it shoots faster, longer, whatever. There’s some people who just run around with socks and they’re like, ‘This is something I can do to kill an hour on campus.’ It is really different for everyone else, and that’s kind of what makes the game great.”

Grab a group of friends, squad up and depart on the day’s mission to stay alive. Each game follows a new storyline, and on certain semesters, the game revolves around a special theme. The upcoming game, running from Oct. 25-31, will stick with its base and not follow a special theme, unlike previous semesters.

“Last semester we did a Fallout theme, I think a couple years ago we did Dragon Ball Z theme, we were even throwing around Overwatch and BioShock,” Bird said. “It’s a nerdy game so we try to make it as nerdy as possible, but sometimes you just have to go back to your roots.”

For anyone interested in getting involved, more information can be found on the group’s website. Dates for the required orientation, rules and game sign-up for the upcoming semester can all be found online.

MU Swing Society

Learn the Lindy Hop, Charleston, Blues and more with MU Swing Society. According to the Swing Society’s official statement, the organization aims to promote participation and education in various forms of swing dancing through teaching, demonstration and social dancing, while encouraging and supporting participation in other dance styles.

“From my perspective, Mizzou Swing succeeds if we create an inclusive community that welcomes dancers of all backgrounds and experience levels, challenges dancers to keep learning and provides regular social events for members to interact and dance together,” MU Swing Society instructor Chase Rother said in an email.

No partner is needed and no experience is required; new dancers only need to show up to one of the events. Free beginner Lindy Hop lessons are offered every Tuesday evening and West Coast Swing and Blues lessons are offered on Thursdays in the Mark Twain Ballroom at Memorial Union. Lessons are followed by an open floor for social dancing to practice the newly learned skills and to meet new people.

“The beginner lesson always starts with the basic footwork and builds up to dancing with a partner,” Rother said. “We want brand-new dancers to feel comfortable joining us at any time. During lessons we regularly rotate partners so that new dancers can meet each other and feel comfortable dancing with many partners.”

For those who are hesitant or nervous starting out, it’s important to stick with it a few times to find a personal groove. Rother recalls his experience starting out in 2014, saying it took three or four lessons before he began feeling confident on the dance floor.

“My new friends kept reminding me that as a beginner it was normal to feel nervous or trip up my feet every so often,” Rother said. “I am so glad I stuck with it. Since I started dancing, I notice that I am much more confident, have an easier time making new friends, stay in better shape and listen to jazz music almost constantly.”

Joining the Swing Society is easy: Just show up to one of the events. Students, community members and even faculty and staff are invited to attend the swing events, which are available on the group’s Facebook page event calendar.

Edited by Katie Rosso |

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