After a year of inactivity, the French Club is reinstated on campus
After a yearlong hiatus, the French Club is back at UC Davis. The club disbanded for the 2017-2018 school year, due to lack of new leadership. However, a new group of passionate individuals have recently revived the club and are hoping to make their mark on UC Davis.
Elias Heffan, a third-year computer science major, is the new president of the French Club. He recalled his experience coming out to the first version of the French Club as a freshman, and how the club dynamics were completely different from then to now.
“When I was a freshman, the club was active but it was really small,” Heffan said. “They met off campus at a cafe and the people that went were a lot of high level French speakers. When I went to that meeting, I felt really intimidated and they weren’t really inclusive of me.”
Kayden Gleaves, a third-year environmental science and management major, is another officer of the club. She noted how the goals of the current French Club have shifted to cater to needs that the previous club didn’t.
“We’re really excited just to get members involved in the club,” Gleaves said. “The previous version of the French Club wasn’t really inclusive because it was made up of mostly native speakers. Our main objective now is to try to unite everyone of all different levels through our love of the culture.”
Heffan recounted the history of the club, and the long journey it took to get back on its feet. He talked about how students attempted to restart the club several times in the 2017-2018 school year, but each time their attempts fizzled out. Heffan was able to restart the club by utilizing the Facebook page that still existed and reaching out to individuals that were also passionate about the language. Now, the officers have higher hopes for the club than in previous years.
“What I’m really excited about with the club is that people that aren’t taking French classes have a place where they can come and learn about and practice speaking French,” Heffan said. “Especially people like me who are computer science or STEM majors that don’t have room in their schedule to take classes can still keep up their language. A lot of people take French in high school and it allows them to continue practicing.”
Heffan went on to detail the club’s activities including social events and practicing the language.
“We are having conversation practices where people can practice French of all levels and feel comfortable,” Heffan said. “We’re also going to have a movie night, a French edition of jeopardy and a study abroad session to offer more information to people that may be interested in traveling abroad to France. We’re also going to be having social nights for the entire club and we’re currently planning on going bowling at the MU together.”
For people interested in learning French, the new club may be an invaluable resource for getting experience in the language.
“For people that don’t know any French, one of the best ways to actually learn is to first take a French class,” Heffan said. “That’s the best way to get the full exposure to everything French-related. You can also come to our club and get another look at everything that you’re learning in class, because it would really compliment everything that you’re learning in class.”
Heffan’s goals for the club stem from his initial experience in the old French club. He hopes to make this version of the club something that caters to all and is extremely inclusive.
“We just want to make a club that anyone who is interested in anything at all French-related can come to and enjoy and feel like they’re getting something out of it,” Heffan said. “I don’t want people to be afraid to let me know or the officers know if we can do something better. I just care about making a club that people really like.”
Vanessa Chavez, a second-year French and Italian major, is another club officer, and shared her goals for the club during this school year.
“I hope to share this love and passion with everyone, whether they speak no French or if they’re fluent in the language,” Chavez said. “Students should know that the club ranges from beginners to fluent speakers so it’s open to all levels. it’s also a way of learning a new language without taking the class or having homework. it’s also a fun way to socialize and meet new people. We’re all here just trying to learn and meet new people and I’m excited to make this club thrive again. I hope we have a huge body of new members so we can make our presence known, and I hope it encourages more people to pursue a languages, whether it’s French, Portuguese or anything else.”
Written by Alyssa Hada — firstname.lastname@example.org