The Kwantlen Polytechnic University Geography Club encourages students to dive into the world of geography through documentaries, faculty talks, and field trips.
The club is in the early stages of growing, and creators Eiren Lucero and Yhanu Sivapalan are looking forward to the social aspect of collaborating with like-minded students, as well as learning more about a topic they’re interested in.
The pair hope to have the club up and running by the fall semester.
“We wanted to be able to create a community where we can learn from either the faculty themselves – whether that’s, like, putting on evening feature nights where we have different professors talking about their interests in their fields. Or maybe just communicating with different students and fostering a community where we can talk about our interests, which would be fun,” says Sivapalan, vice president and marketing creative director of the club.
After asking one of their instructors if there had ever been a geography club at the university, the co-creators discovered that the previous one had “dwindled down” after the students running it had graduated and moved on, explains Lucero, president of the club.
“The club itself sort of vanished,” they say. “This inspired us to have our own [club] because we wanted to have a community within the geography department.”
Lucero, who is a third-year geography student, says their love for geography likely started with their fascination for cool looking rocks as a child.
Their house in the Philippines was alongside a river, and they remember exploring along the edges and retrieving what they, at the time, called “magical stones.”
“My grandparents saw my interest in them. One day, my grandpa was just like ‘here, actually read a book about it,’ instead of just, like, going out there and guessing what these are.”
Sivapalan, who is in her first year of studying geography, says she learned about the discipline while searching for a way to be more sustainable in her previous Graphic Design for Marketing program.
After taking an earth science course, she was hooked.
“Although I love design – and that’s why I also want to incorporate design into anything I do career-wise – I want to learn how to use that as a tool to emphasize sustainability issues, or just the environment itself,” says Sivapalan.
The Geography Club meets the KSA’s requirements of having a president, a vice president, and a treasurer. They are still working to recruit the additional 10 members required to move to the next stage of the club starting application.
Recruiting strictly online has both its advantages and disadvantages, says Sivapalan.
Because everyone is already online, being able to reach people through social media and the geography department’s newsletter should be more accessible. Still, at the same time, it could be harder to make meaningful connections because the interactions aren’t in-person, she says.
Regardless, the club would not have made it as far as it has without the support of their instructors, their treasurer Sanjana Dewan, and event manager Sydney Wong, says Lucero.