Graduate student Blake Brown has found his new project: starting a club.
Last semester, Brown and his friend picked up ping-pong as a hobby after classes, but when his friend graduated in the fall, Brown needed to find a new person to play with.
In early January, Brown decided that making a club would be the easiest way to find other ping-pong enthusiasts on campus.
He began by hanging posters around campus and creating a Google form for those interested to fill out. Within the first month he already had 24 people sign up through the form.
While Brown has found many interested individuals, there is one hurdle that is stopping the club from reaching its full potential: they don’t have a ping-pong table.
“I’m working with SGA to get funding for a table, but it’s taken a little bit of work,” Brown said. “I was trying to have it be a lighthearted organization and hopefully ease through the process, but it’s my first time starting a student group and it’s not that easy to get funding. There’s a lot of red tape.”
Once Brown is able to secure a ping-pong table, he hopes to hold meetings in either the Center for Teaching and Learning building or the MUC. He said these spots are good, centralized meeting areas for students of all grades to access.
Brown said he hopes to have the club’s first meeting by the end of February. Any skill level or experience is welcome. At these meetings he hopes to host tournaments while also making time for free play, but most of all he wants the club to be a space for relaxing and making connections.
“I would like it to be an organization where you can meet some new people,” Brown said. “…Just a spot to take a break from school and maybe get a little competitive.”
For Brown, he feels the skills students will learn in the Ping Pong Club have the potential to last them a lifetime.
“I visited my grandparents in an active community last year, and I played ping-pong with them. I got my butt kicked by a bunch of old people which was humbling… It really is something you can do for a lifetime since it’s not too demanding,” Brown said.
As Brown prepares to host the first meeting for his club at the end of the month, he is excited to share the reasons why he loves ping-pong with the rest of campus.
“I’d say my favorite part about playing ping-pong is the conversation with the other person,” Brown said. “I also enjoy learning a new way to move the ball around when you’re hitting it. It’s kind of like tennis, and you can really spin the ball or make it go interesting ways, so it’s a lot of fun.”
For more information about the first club meeting follow Brown’s journey on Instagram @usd_pingpongclub.