Freshman Isaac Hughes was excited to see how many people came to drink tea and discuss topics at his newly formed Tea Club. After two meetings, the club has received an enthusiastic response from the Knox community.
“The first two meetings turned out really great,” Hughes said. “Our first meeting we had about 40 people show up, which was very exciting.”
Tea Club was created by Hughes and his suitemates, freshmen Veronica Venters-Sefic, Grace DeLuca and Iris Cohn, in order to spread their enthusiasm about tea and to help students relax. Tea Club meetings so far have involved everyone introducing themselves and coming up with ideas for how to engage other students in the future.
“There’s two elements of tea club that we’d like to fulfill on the Knox campus,” Hughes said. “One of them is to just have a place to relax in the middle of the week. It’s a nice time to come together and de-stress and take a break from whatever work they have. Then also, we want to reach out to the Knox community through some events.”
According to Hughes, these events could include field trips or growing an herb garden for club members to make tea to give away as part of a care package during finals week.
“We also want to explore the cultural and historical roles of tea because there’s a lot of angles to it,” Hughes said. “Learning about the history and culture of Yerba Mate, for example, is something that I’m really interested in. There’s also Chai tea and the South Asian perspective. There’s a lot of people on campus who would love to share that angle of it.”
Hughes has been interested in tea for most of his life. He credits this to being raised on Vashon Island, Wash., where most of the residents drink tea throughout the day.
“Obviously as Tea Club president I like tea,” Hughes said. “About a half-mile down my street there is this awesome coffee and tea shop where I could look through their variety of different teas and that got me really excited.”
Senior Frankie Larsen, who attended the first meeting, has also enjoyed tea for most of her life. She mentioned how Tea Club brings a diverse group of people together for many reasons.
“I was actually a little surprised by how the club seems to be reaching out to many different facets of the campus,” Larsen said. “It’s the kind of club that can be whatever you want it to be. You could view it as ‘self-care’ or it’s also a great place to meet new people or also a place for people who are honestly just really into tea.”
In order to work with many different schedules, Tea Club events are held at 8 p.m. every Wednesday night in Post Lobby. Hughes decided that this would avoid class times as well as training times for athletes, though he does acknowledge it might be late.
“Luckily we have a lot of herbal tea that people drink,” Hughes said about drinking tea at night. “We also have people drinking caffeinated tea because they might have a paper that’s due. So it works whether you’re trying to wind down or rev up.”
Hughes and Larsen are excited about the reception of the club and are confident that it will receive a budget from student senate to do more outreach.
“I’m really impressed by the Knox community and how accepting people are of certain ideas,” Hughes said. “It puts a smile on my face to see people connecting over tea and has shown me that there are a lot of really good people on campus.”