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The Eastern Echo Sunday, June 16, 2024 | Print Archive
The Eastern Echo

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Club Spotlight: The French Club

EMU’s French Club helps students experience all aspects of French and Francophone culture!

At Eastern Michigan University, students come from a diversity of cultures and backgrounds, and as such, there are clubs that offer students the chance to experience other cultures. EMU’s French Club helps students experience all aspects of French and Francophone culture. Francophone culture is French culture that is experienced outside of France. 

“The French Club highlights and celebrates French and Francophone culture through fun activities, games, films, events, and more,” Tatianna Rice, French club president said. 

The French Club had its first official meetings back in Winter 2022, and although it is still fairly new, the club is making itself known throughout the EMU community. When the club was first starting out, the executive board positions were open to anyone who wanted it. Rice and Ariana Fisher, French club’s vice president, both knew they wanted to be on board. 

“I’m a K-12 French education major, so French is very important to me, especially getting the culture out to everyone,” Fisher said. 

All of the club’s events have an interactive component where the members can get a taste, sometimes literally, of what French culture is like. Some events include the collaboration with the Honors College Mardi Gras event, tasting French foods, hearing French music, and guest speakers. There is a diversity of activities that help to highlight aspects of French and Francophone culture, whether one is already familiar with it or not. 

“What it brings to Eastern, is that it is another piece of the [cultural] puzzle,” Rice said. “There is a lot that we can teach students.”  

A prominent part of the club is that it provides a unique learning environment outside the classroom. Members can learn about French singers, ask for recommendations for youtube channels to watch, or podcasts to listen to. It offers members a chance to keep up with the culture, in a way that works for them. 

Members do not need to be taking a French class or be a part of French culture in order to join. Anyone who wishes to expand their knowledge on French or Francophone culture or simply looking for a way to learn about a new culture, is welcome to join. The French Club encourages members who are either learning the French language or are already conversational in French, to participate in their Conversation Tables where students can meet together to talk and improve their conversational skills.

One of the club’s more well known events was the Mardi Gras event, held back in February 2023, in collaboration with the Honors College. Rice emphasizes that she had been wanting to do a Mardi Gras event ever since the club first started. At the event, students were able to decorate masks, wear beaded necklaces, and learn what Mardi Gras is all about. 

“I thought it was weird that a lot of people don’t really know anything about Mardi Gras, even that it means ‘Fat Tuesday,’” Rice said. “I thought ‘Oh gosh! We gotta let the people know what it’s all about.’” 

Fisher expresses that her favorite events are the Karaoke Night and cheese tasting events, demonstrating two different cultural aspects members were able to participate in: French music and French food.

“We had six cheeses from France that we all got to try. It was great watching people go from ‘Oh this is great!’ to ‘I’m not putting that in my mouth.’” Fisher said. 

Although EMU has other culture clubs aside from the French Club, one differentiating factor is that French and Francophone culture is so vast, that it covers a plethora of other countries and their cultures. 

“We have Europe, North America, Africa, French Polynesia, [and] we have some of the Caribbean Islands.” Fisher said. “There is a lot of diversity  that we can bring in, and [can] spotlight a lot of unique and different cultures on top of all that.” 

The French Club has had a very exciting beginning, for both the executive board as well as the members that attend the events. 

“French Club has been something that we created and that we started out and I’m excited to see where it goes from here.” Rice said. “That we’ll have language students and French students in the future that are excited as we are and were when we created it.” 

To stay updated on future events, follow the French Club on Instagram @emufrenchclub.