By Brandon OConnorAugust 29, 2019
Whether cadets are looking for a new hobby, extra military training, a competitive sport or spiritual development, the U.S. Military Academy has a club for them.
West Point hosted its annual Club Night Aug. 19-20 where more than 120 clubs set up displays trying to recruit new members. The clubs cover the spectrum from religious organizations, competitive teams such as the marathon team, hobby clubs such as the parachute team to clubs for almost every academic interest at the academy.
"I'm looking for the mascot team," Class of 2022 Cadet Christopher Blaine said. "I think it'd be a great time, have some fun. Go have fun with the crowd with the people. I think it's a great way to go to the community and really build esprit de corps here and really have fun. I'm looking around to see if anything pops out to me. I'm thinking about maybe regular warfare, maybe even the international club to widen my horizon."
While some cadets come to Club Night with their initial focus on a specific club, many come having no idea what is going to jump out to them.
For Class of 2023 Cadet Jessica Desena, that proved to be the string ensemble. A violin player in high school, coming across the club showed her there is a way to continue pursuing her interest in music even as she begins her time at West Point.
The clubs can also be a way for cadets to learn more about a major or branch they are considering.
"When I was in high school, there weren't a lot of engineering clubs," Class of 2023 Cadet Louis Alfred said. "Here, there's like three or four of them. So that's really exciting. Probably going to pick maybe one or two engineering clubs just to get me a better understanding of engineering and help me solidify a major. I plan to choose STEM, but I don't know which engineering major I'll choose."
The first evening, which featured military, diversity, academic and support clubs, proved to be a cacophony of sound as the Cadet Spirit Band, rock band and string ensemble all brought instruments along to appeal to new members.
While most of the clubs were content to man their tables and wait for interested cadets to stop by, others took a more active approach to recruiting new members.
Despite having space for only a little more than 20 new cadets, the members of the ski patrol spread throughout the hall with skis and snowboards in hand corralling perspective members.
"We're looking for people who are dedicated to helping people on and off post," Class of 2021 Cadet Alex Yunez, who has been a member of the ski patrol since his plebe year, said. "We do a lot of medical training with ski patrol. A lot of things come up where we'll have to treat people during the summer, during the academic year, especially in the winter, when we're patrolling the mountain. We will go and visit other mountains off posts. It is a lot of fun. We're like a big family and we like doing our jobs."