Anthropology Club begins cultural excavations at Pierce College

Anthropology students don’t have to go to excavation sites to learn about different cultures, they can do that in the comfort of a Pierce College classroom.

This semester, the Anthropology Club leadership has decided to focus on linguistics and physical anthropology. Because of the new focus, members of the club bring in food from their culture, and have the opportunity to discuss different cultures.

“Every week a student volunteers to bring in food from their culture,” Vice President Sharon Basch said. “Last week a girl brought in some Armenian food. The first week I brought in snacks from Israel. We then spend a little time discussing where we’re from, what languages we speak, and what it’s like where we’re from. It’s really cool that we have a lot of students from lots of different backgrounds in the club.”

According to Basch, the club has around 80 members on the email list, and around 30 students that attend the meetings regularly. President Ekeme Ekanem is proud of the amount of students in the club.

“It’s just nice to find so many people that are actually interested in anthropology,” Ekanem said. “To have that big group of people coming together talking about real interesting topics that you don’t always get to talk about, is really inspiring to me.”

Throughout the semester, Anthropology Club members discuss topics they’ve voted on every week. According to Basch, the club has so far started watching a documentary on recently discovered ancestor Homo Naledi. They’ve watched a presentation of Basch’s recent summer trip to an archaeological site in Israel. They also routinely discuss future club activities. Members also have the opportunity to eat out at numerous cultural restaurants together.

Professors within the anthropology department at Pierce College also lecture and give presentations to the club.

“Dr. Pierson is going to be, at some point, giving us a fire-starting lesson,” Basch said. “He’s going to teach us how to start a fire the way the ancient people would start a fire.”

Advisor to the club, Noble Eisenlauer, appreciates the participation from the faculty members of the Anthropology department.

“I’m just thrilled that the rest of the department is supportive of the club to the point where they’re willing to give some of their private time to help the club out,” he said. “We have a professor who took a group of the Anthropology Club students to a professional conference so they would see how conferences are run. I think they found that very rewarding.”

The Anthropology Club members plan to go on trips to various locations this semester. Just this Halloween, they visited a haunted house.

The members of the club will not have financial trouble participating in these trips because of a successful fundraising program the club has during graduation every year.

“Funding is usually not an issue,” Basch said. “We have a really big fundraiser at the end of every year. We’re the only club allowed to sell flowers at graduation. We make a pretty decent amount of money, which is great because we don’t want to exclude people from things because they can’t pay for it. We’re really proud to say that we can get most people to go wherever we are going.”

Advisor Dr. Eisenlauer is excited for the club this semester, and encourages students to join any club.

“I think clubs can make you grow as a person. Not only do they give you intellectual knowledge about your discipline, but I think they also give you knowledge about yourself, and what you can do.”