Clubs are back in full swing this semester at the University of Maine. Thanks to stringent safety protocols, meetings continue to be conducted in person. With clubs operating virtually for so long, this semester in particular has seen an increase in clubs’ membership. This has been the case with UMaine’s Anthropology Club.
Headed by President Allisyn Tidd and President-elect James Bilella, the club has seen its membership multiply in just a few meetings this semester. Anthropology Club is centered around the field of anthropology, which is the study of humans in the past and present.
Tidd took the reins about a year ago during a bit of a lull in membership and has been seeking out department members and potential guest speakers ever since.
“I got in touch with the club’s advisor, Dr. Dan Sandweiss, and started sending out department emails so all could hear about it,” said Tidd.
Sandweiss is a professor of anthropology and quaternary climate studies at UMaine and a well respected name in the field of archaeology. With some help from Sandweiss and others the club has grown from five members to about 20-30 active members since last semester.
Everyone is welcome to join the Anthropology Club. The meetings feature a diverse range of people and majors.
“The club is for everyone,” said Tidd. “Most people only get exposed to anthropology through ANT 100, and most people in college don’t start out as anthropology majors because it’s not included in high school curriculum. We wanted to make sure everyone knew about it.”
The club is about communicating and promoting discussion on the many facets of anthropology, including cultural, linguistic and biological anthropology and archaeology. It’s about exploring the field, but it’s also about having fun while facilitating connections between anthropology majors.
“We want other anthropology majors to meet each other and connect because most people don’t see other anthropology majors until their last few years,” said Tidd. “The club is a great place to meet people interested in the same things.”
This past week’s meeting featured a presentation from UMaine Research Associate Jamie Wren. Wren, who works with prolific forensic anthropologist Dr. Marcella Sorg at the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center, presented his dissertation research entitled “Effects of Alcohol on the Human Cranium.” His research dove into the alcohol-related biological processes that encourage osteoclast production, which in turn breaks down bone. His work was inspired by a series of forensic cases he and Sorg worked together on.
Wren also spoke at length about his data collection and filtering processes, a topic of particular interest to those who intend to use their degree to do scientifically based research. Wren’s research aims to give medical practitioners a better idea of the effects excessive alcohol consumption has on the human skeleton and how it might inform treatment.
Many more guest lecturers are slated for the following few months, including local archaeologists like Dr. Sandweiss and Dr. Bonnie Newsom of the anthropology department at UMaine, who will present on Oct. 20 and Oct. 27.
“We’ve got a lot of great speakers lined up for the next couple weeks,” said Tidd. “We’re looking forward to making the club useful on campus, including exploring opportunities for volunteering.”
Whether you’re an anthropology student or not, the club is open to all who have an interest in the study of past and present human culture. To join, contact Tidd at firstname.lastname@example.org
Meetings are held every Wednesday night at 7 p.m. in 232 South Stevens Hall.