New Board Game Club Aims to Create an “Inclusive Environment” for More Introverted Students  

News

By Adriana Samuels / News Reporter || Edited by Giulia Leo

Table set up discussion before the game starts. Courtesy of Board Game Club. 

ROME—A group of students started the first JCU Board Game Club this fall as an opportunity for the community to socialize and meet new people—especially for more introverted students. The club’s goal is establishing a “sanctuary from the stresses of student life.”  

Joseph Adams, Club President, is a second-year History major from San Diego, Calif. In high school, he was involved with the school’s board game club and during this first year at JCU he informally organized board game nights with friends.   

“Eventually a few of us got together and [I thought]: ‘wouldn’t it be cool to do this every week under John Cabot, and try to get us out there to meet new people,’” Adams said.  

The club has been meeting on Thursdays from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. in Mimose 1 since Sept 22. An average of 12 to 15 students attends each session to play a variety of board games. The games are brought by Adams and other members, with the most popular being Betrayal at the House on the Hill. Two tables are set up for participants to play, with an additional room available if needed. Students discuss what games they want to play and then form different groups. 

Adams describes board games as a “nice, calm activity” he does to relax and engage his logical thinking skills. 

“It’s very entertaining too, to participate with other people,” said Adams.  

In its club mission statement, the Board Game Club states that communication, problem-solving, and cooperation are skills developed through playing board games.  

Malia Sanchez, Club Secretary and second-year History major from Patterson, Calif. said that board games provide a structure for socializing, especially for students who are new or shyer. 

“Social interaction is taxing,” Sanchez said. “Especially when you don’t know what you’re going to talk about.” 

By being engaged with a board game, students have a way to connect with their peers without feeling pressured to fill the silence, said Sanchez. It is an activity for students to partake in, to reduce stress and meet others with similar objectives.  

According to Rice Psychology, board games decrease stress and risk of mental illness through engaging the mind. The fine motor skills used when playing games also strengthen cognitive functions. 

The Board Game Club also recognizes that it can be hard for students to adjust to university and life abroad and become active in the university community, according to its website. 

How to start a new JCU club—inclusivity is key 

For a club to be recognized at JCU, inquiring students must contact the Student Services Office. The club needs to have a clear mission and be inclusive.  

Pilar Murguia, Director of Student Services, said clubs are a starting point for student connection and fundamental to the university’s student life.  

“A community is very important,” said Murguia. “A community supports you, helps you, and [is] there for you.” 

Federica Bocco, Student Activities Coordinator, said that club leaders can contribute peer-to-peer mentorship and help accommodate new students through “a sense of tight-knit community and belonging.” 

The Student Services Office said the proposal for a board game club stood out to them because it was different from the clubs currently offered at JCU. The students’ pitch expressed a goal of attracting introverted students who might be uncomfortable with clubs that require heavy involvement.  

The office also recognized the club’s ability to allow students who don’t travel or like to go out— to meet people.  

“That creates community,” Murguia said. “It’s very important that everybody needs to be allowed to participate [in student life].”  

In addition to cooperation and bringing people together, board games help students develop other skills: playing games encourages creativity and confidence. It also helps with learning how to set goals.  

The club is aiming to recruit more members throughout the academic year. There are no requirements to join, and it is not necessary to bring a board game. Game sessions last three hours and students are welcome to arrive at any time. Members will also explain how to play the games if needed. 

Adams explained that members seem to enjoy the variety of board games and he has noticed groups of friends form due to interactions in Board Game Club.  

“Looking forward we want to try and do two large school events next semester,” Adams said.  

The club is also planning to gather a collection of board games for the university. Looking to grow in numbers and visibility, the new position of Social Media Manager is open. 

For a club to be recognized at JCU, inquiring students must contact the Student Services Office. The club needs to have a clear mission and be inclusive.  

Pilar Murguia, Director of Student Services, said clubs are a starting point for student connection and fundamental to the university’s student life.  

“A community is very important,” said Murguia. “A community supports you, helps you, and [is] there for you.” 

Federica Bocco, Student Activities Coordinator, said that club leaders can contribute peer-to-peer mentorship and help accommodate new students through “a sense of tight-knit community and belonging.” 

The Student Services Office said the proposal for a board game club stood out to them because it was different from the clubs currently offered at JCU. The students’ pitch expressed a goal of attracting introverted students who might be uncomfortable with clubs that require heavy involvement.  

The office also recognized the club’s ability to allow students who don’t travel or like to go out— to meet people.  

“That creates community,” Murguia said. “It’s very important that everybody needs to be allowed to participate [in student life].”  

In addition to cooperation and bringing people together, board games help students develop other skills: playing games encourages creativity and confidence. It also helps with learning how to set goals.  

The club is aiming to recruit more members throughout the academic year. There are no requirements to join, and it is not necessary to bring a board game. Game sessions last three hours and students are welcome to arrive at any time. Members will also explain how to play the games if needed. 

Adams explained that members seem to enjoy the variety of board games and he has noticed groups of friends form due to interactions in Board Game Club.  

“Looking forward we want to try and do two large school events next semester,” Adams said.  

The club is also planning to gather a collection of board games for the university. Looking to grow in numbers and visibility, the new position of Social Media Manager is open. 


For more information, the Board Game Club can be contacted at boardgameclub@johncabot.edu