by Katie Kennedy, ’18

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Meetup, it’s a fairly simple app-based solution to the age old complaint- “there’s nothing to do here!”

Upon logging in, the user chooses which areas they are interested in exploring, such as philosophy, photography, international travel, book clubs, crafting, and cooking.

The app uses location services to suggest communities of people with similar interests. While you browse, you can choose to join these communities to get more information on their meetings (like where and when they meet).

As a true liberal arts student, I was determined to get this app! Maybe I’m a little late to the game, but this sounds like a fantastic way to not only find new hobbies and skills, but to make new friends and connect with the community – my favorite things.

This all sounds well and good- but just how realistic is it? Are these online communities full of people who never attend meetings? Are these meetings more exclusive then they let on?

I decided to interview some members of these online community members – and I’m here to tell you, it’s not even a baby-bit exclusive!

The Beloit College students who I interviewed only attended the Meetup group (sometimes a series of events) only once, so they were unable to form concrete connections with any of the other members, but they felt more connected to the community overall after attending.

Everyone I interviewed was happy with their experience, and was able to practice certain skills such as speaking French (International Meetup in Chicago) or discussing literature with others (Book Club meeting in Washington DC).

There is no better way to apply your liberal arts education than to connect with people you don’t typically meet. This applies in new countries, new school, or even the knitting club that you’ve never attended in your hometown. Meetup is an exciting, effective way to do this while you’re home for break, interning across the country over the summer, or graduated and living in a new city. With 8 million members in over 100 countries (and counting), you shouldn’t have much trouble.

If you can’t wait that long, there are meetup communities in Beloit that  meet regularly. If you’re interested in community involvement, but this doesn’t tickle your fancy, make an appointment here at the LAPC. We’ll make sure you find a place!

 

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