The day Weinberg freshman Lyzanne Trevino and two of her friends decided to start a kite club at Northwestern, they were flying a kite into the March breeze on the South Campus beachfront.
“We had just found this kite for $2 at CVS,” Trevino said. “It was a big Barbie kite, the last one they had at the store.”
The following day, Trevino and five other fellow kite enthusiasts were discussing the idea on the second floor of Allison Hall, where they all live. The club officially started in early April and hosted its first kite-flying event, Afternoon De-Kite, on the south campus beach Thursday.
Of the 28 people that showed up, Trevino said she was very hopeful most of them would join the club and help it get a strong member base.
“All the people I talked to were enjoying themselves and were very excited to learn more about the club,” Trevino said.
Now the club’s president, Trevino said she has been focusing on recruiting new members and getting the T-status, or ASG recognition, as early as next September.
“The club started more as a joke than anything else,” Trevino said. “We were thinking, ‘No one actually wants to sign up for a kite club.’”
To Trevino’s surprise, 20 people have already signed up for the club and now she is counting on ASG recognition to attract 30 more members by the end of fall quarter.
“We want to be able to advertise in Norris, get a table to recruit people from all over campus and maybe have an exhibition to show kites we bought or built ourselves,” Trevino said.
After the Barbie kite’s string broke last month, each member of the executive board donated between $10 and $15 to buy 10 new kites. “But joining the club doesn’t cost anything,” Trevino said. “Showing interest is enough.”
According to a very pleased Trevino, last Thursday’s Afternoon De-Kite was a success.
“It’s also a first step towards recognition,” Trevino said, “because to get T-status you have to host an event and prove to ASG that it’s not just you and your friends and that you’re actually trying to reach out other students.”
Weinberg freshman Patrick Dawson, who was co-president of the club until he was elected to the executive committee of ASG, said it doesn’t take long for people to learn the basics of kite flying so they can then enjoy the peaceful activity.
“It’s just calming, relaxing, especially once you get it up in the air really far, you can look at it and not worry about it any more,” Dawson said.
According to Dawson, the hardest thing to do is to find people interested enough to take action and really get involved in the club. “I was surprised to see how much work you have to do to start a club like this,” Dawson said.
Trevino insisted that the event was only the first stage and that the club still had a lot of projects ahead, such as kite-building contests.
“We have someone on the executive board who is in charge of education and who is looking at how we could build our own kites,” Trevino said. “We’ve bought the material but it’s really harder than we thought it would be because there’s a lot of math and science.”
The club is also trying to develop outreach programs for students in other universities who are unable to fly kites because it is illegal in downtown Chicago.
Although Trevino had no idea that she would be the president of a college kite club at the beginning of her freshman year, she said her goal was to improve and expand the club before she leaves Northwestern.
“The people who started the club are mostly freshmen now, so we can be in it for the next three years,” Trevino said. “If we get the T-status at the beginning of fall quarter, we might later get the B-status, which will allow us to get funding from the university and organize other events like charities in the future.”