New Claddagh Club on Campus to honor Irish Heritage

Robert Morris University (RMU) is made up of an additional student club that focuses on something different.

The Claddagh club, which started on Facebook and turned traditional, is composed of mostly students who visited Ireland through the study abroad programs.

“More students had gone to Ireland in our international education program than any other countries,” explained Jim Vincent, associate professor of English Studies.

“Our club is named after the characteristics [of the] Irish ring of love and friendship,” stated Vincent. For this reason, members will be given a claddagh ring.

Vincent, along with Jennifer Crawford, the director of Annual Giving, is the advisor of the club.

“Part of our focus is not just the travel course,” explained Crawford.

Crawford, who has ancestors from Ireland, explained that some of the students joined the club to mostly know about their Irish heritage.

Kayce Craday, a first year student majoring in Pre-Medicine is among the members who joined the Claddagh club to know about their heritage.

“I’m mostly Irish,” stated Craday, who has never visited Ireland.

Craday did express her desire to join the study abroad program.

“I would like to, but they don’t have my major,” she explained.

“We began to discuss it in 2010,” said Vincent on when the club was founded. Although it has been in existence for two years, it is still in his primary stage.

It became official this semester. It was during that Fall semester that officers were elected. Among them are Ryan Kenny as treasurer, Kiersten Metzger as secretary and social media coordinator, Kristen Taylor as president, and Kelly Gibson as vice-president.

“[At] the first meeting, we had an election, and I ran for it,” explained Gibson who joined the club this year after visiting Ireland this past summer.

“I lead the club, [plan] events [and] meetings, and report to Jim any information that I find necessary,” explained Taylor regarding her position.

During their last Fall meeting, the club members put together their constitution to request approval from the Student Government Association. In addition, the members discussed their plans for the Spring semester.

“We’re working with other student groups to plan a St. Patrick’s Day party,” said Vincent. The club will be joined by at least three other clubs.

“We’re hoping to have Irish food, drinks, and entertainment,” Vincent explained. In terms of entertainment, they are planning on possibly bringing singers, and hosting a story telling and poetry event.

“We’ll be screening a video about Irish sports,” Vincent added.

Another event that the claddgah club is hoping to host is a reunion.

“We hope to have a reunion of students past and present who traveled to Ireland,” Vincent explained.

Although the club members often hold meetings to discuss their plans, they are still very involved in their Facebook page.

“Because of the difficulty of planning for meetings to which all students can attend, we have a strong online presence,” Vincent explained. “Part of our organization is virtual.”