Curious: What is the oldest student club at Harper College?


The entrance to the Multicultural Center, home of many clubs such as Latinos Unidos and the Black Student Union opened this year above building Starbucks in Building D. (Photo by Randall Deleonio.)

This question was a tough one in terms of finding a concrete answer. Our educated sources put forward their best guesses as to which club was likely to be the first.

According to Harper College’s former Director of Student Activities Michael Nejman, a state law passed in the late 1960s states that colleges are required to have a board of student trustees.

Due to this legislation, he said that “the [student] senate was probably the first student group formalized on campus.”

Because Nejman held the position of Director of Student Activities from 1981 to 2012, and was not present for the earliest years of the school’s operation, he could not say this for sure.

In “Harper College: The First 50 Years” by retired Harper Professor and historian, Trygve Thoreson, we can find some more hints.

In the second chapter of the text, a student group called The Harper Grove was mentioned; this is now known as The Harbinger, the student-run newspaper.

Thoreson writes, “Despite the lack of conventional collegiate facilities, the student newspaper and student athletics got off to a quick start. The first issue of the newspaper, called Harper Grove in honor of the cluster of trees that sheltered the temporary facilities on the Elk Grove campus, was published on September 13, 1967.”

The school opened its doors to students in September 1967, so this is more likely to be a more accurate answer to what the oldest club might be. The first-ever publication of the newspaper can be found in the campus archives.

Harper College’s first-ever published newspaper under the name “Harper Grove.” (Photo courtesy of William Rainey Harper College online archives.)

Harper College currently has 48 active clubs and has a rich history of student involvement, so finding interesting clubs to write about was no issue at all.

When Michael Nejman and Erin Graff, the current Manager of Student Involvement, were asked about any student clubs that stood out to them, they had plenty to say. Nejman said he was a big fan of the Bizzare Fashion Club “back in the day.”

“From a production perspective, Harper’s Bizzare Fashion Club did stellar jobs with their annual fashion show. The lighting, the sound, the designers, the models, I mean it was really first-rate all the time,” Nejman remarked. “The students involved in that group always did such a beautiful job with everything they did.”

One club that stands out to Graff is the Student Activities Board. They began a series called Free Movie Friday in 2017 where free movies and dollar concessions were offered to students and the community.

“The first film featured was ‘Coco’ and due to an overwhelmingly positive response, SAB hosted three showings with over 800 total people in attendance,” Graff said. “The movie series continues today.”