Student Groups: A Field Guide

Congratulations on missing the deadline for private school applications!  Welcome to Cal!


Remember how in high school you had to put up with a lot of bullshit extracurricular activities and student groups?  Remember how everyone in high school said things were going to be different in college?  It’s okay, crushed dreams and disappointment are the unofficial mascots of higher education.  The official mascot is a bear! Who drinks.


Here’s a handy guide to the groups that will be hassling you this year to join, and what you can do to avoid them.


Big Treble in Little China

Group Type: Shrill A Capella Band.

Catalog Description:   “How often have you find yourself walking down Sproul wishing there was a group of amateurs yelling 15-year-old songs at you without music?  How often have you wished those songs were in Cantonese, arguably the most beautiful glottal-stop-based language in the world?  Well, worry no more!”

Group Activities: Forming human rhythm section and giant roadblock.

How to Avoid: Seek refuge with the Taiwanese A Capella group.




**Finnish Neo-Orthodox Traditionalist Student Union


Group Type:   Christian/Ethnic Fellowship

Catalog Description:   “Members of our extremely specific faith will find our meetings a fun and safe environment for us to discuss the trivial aspects that marginally differentiate us from other branches of Christianity.”

Group Activities:  Holding meetings, barbecues, flyering for said meetings and barbecues.

How to Avoid: Pray that you are one of the 99.99674% of students on campus whose historical origins render them ineligible for membership.




Group Type:  Excuse me!  Hiiii.  I was wondering if I could talk to you for a minute?

Catalog Description:   Have you pledged CalPIRG yet?  Ex—excuse me, it’ll just take a second, have you pledged CalPIRG?  Oh.  May I ask why not?  I realize you’re busy, but this will really only take a short while, we’re talking to people about the environment.  Did you know—Excuse me.  Hello.  Can I walk with you for a little bit?

Group Activities:  Hiii, what’s your name?  Hi, I’m Denise. 

How to Avoid: Being a Republican.


**Õs Mandíbulas


Group Type: Renowned Brazilian street-gang, Berkeley chapter

Catalog Description: “Perfect for those who seek cultural and personal fulfillment from peers of a similar socioeconomic background who are also skilled in varieties of street combat such as Krav Maga, Capoeira, and “Give Me Your Fucking Purse.”

Group Activities: Tattoos, talking about tattoos, lifting weights, tattooing pictures of weights on your chest (on which a dumbbell is currently resting).

How to Avoid: Carry nothing of value past 9 PM.


**Cal LARPing Society


Group Type: More of a _party _of swashbucklers than a group, technically.

Catalog Description: “ A group dedicated to the rollicking adventures of roleplaying and committed to furthering understanding about the nature and worth of adventure games in a post-electronic society. Midgets wanted.”

Group Activities: Adventuring, spellcasting, exploring the dismal depths of Travis’s Cellar. Fishing dice out from under the Couch Of Sitting. Perilous journeys to the 7-11 Of . . . Provisions.

How to Avoid: Make saving throw.



**Knuckles and Poison


Group Type:   Shadowy Cabal of People Who Like Cocaine.

Catalog Description:   “Knuckles and Poison has been Cal’s premier secret society since 1899.  Operating underneath the campus radar, its existence has remained a total and complete secret to every student until…today, I guess.  Shit!”

Group Activities:  Covertly controlling everything from the tenure system, to financial aid, to how high a tuition hike the ASUC should unquestioningly approve.

How to Avoid:  Do not go into Ishi Court on a moonless night at the strike of one.  While there, do not whisper “excelsior” until a man comes to put a damp cloth to your face.  Do not heed his instructions carefully.


Lambda Sigma Rho

Group Type:   Pre-Vocational Ed Fraternity

Catalog Description: Whether you want to be a carpenter or just really like hammers, Lambda Sigma Rho is for you. We offer a hands-on approach to education for students who understand that the real world needs more plumbers and electricians, not literacy. Our fraternity boasts the largest number of students in any organization at Cal to attend ITT Technical Institute for post-graduate work. We are also the only fraternity on campus to make our own kegs.

Group Activities: Going to New Orleans during Spring Break and _actually _rebuilding.

How to Avoid: Have a major.


**The Republicans


Group Type: Surly defender of _real _American values.

Catalog Description:  Writing trenchant editorials blasting California’s tax-and-spend fiscal policies and the erosion of marriage. Also the fucking hippies.

Group Activities:   Being contrarian.  Arguing with the ASUC that funding based on liberal fallacies like “group size” is for pussies.

How to Avoid:  Join CalPIRG.