Animal Interest Club, led by second-years Olivia Van Housen and Codee Vogler, provides a solution to the problem of homesickness, as well as many other opportunities for students to become involved with animals on campus. With more than 50 students signed up for the upcoming semester and a clear set of goals, the club is poised to have an eventful and successful term.
“Animal Interest Club focuses on promoting awareness about animal welfare by connecting students with volunteer organizations in the Sarasota-Manatee area,” Vogler said.
In order to increase participation and their presence on campus, Animal Interest Club also has many events, both new and old, planned for the semester. In partnership with Cat Depot, the club plans to bring a few cats to campus for students to interact with for a day in an event called Cat Carnival. They also aim to have a number of food drives and other fundraisers throughout the year to donate to organizations such as Pets of the Homeless and the Salvation Army. In addition, Vogler hopes to foster a partnership with Save Our Seabirds. Through various volunteer ventures, club members will have the opportunity to gain professional experience in the field of animal related vocations.
However, the club offers much more than professional experience. It also allows students to regain a personal connection with both animals and home that they may have felt was lost during the transition to New College.
“I know a lot of students miss home. They won’t ever say it, but they miss home. And animals are a big part of home for a lot of people. So Animal Interest Club gives students something to connect with that helps satisfy that homesickness. It also gives them a feeling of empowerment that they helped an animal in some way,” Van Housen commented. “And that’s a very good feeling to have at the end of the day”.