After a year, hula hoop club finally gets approved

For those UVMers who yearn for the days of hula hooping in the cul-de-sac, there is now a club on campus that brings back the childhood pastime.Junior Mona Qaddoumi, with seniors Samantha Lederfine Paskal and Kelly Coons, brought their Hoop Dancing club proposal before the Student Government Association (SGA) Senate last Tuesday.After it was voted on, the Senate applauded the girls for their newly recognized club.Their pitch to the Senate described hoop dancing as an activity that “strives to promote physical and mental health through a fun and creative dance outlet.””It’s a club for people who don’t do normal clubs,” Qaddoumi, the club’s creator and president, said.Before they were even recognized as a club, thirty “hoopers” began practicing on Monday nights and Saturday afternoons in the tennis courts during open recreation hours, according to the girls’ PowerPoint presentation.”Now that we are a recognized club, I am eager to claim our practice space so we have legitimate places to play,” Qaddoumi said.Qaddoumi met with Marissa Couzens, chair of the Student Activities Committee, last week to finalize the proposal of their club before SGA, Qaddoumi said.In their presentation, the girls asked for a budget of $200, and gave a video demonstration of what hoop dancing actually looks like.After the video, Harry Mallory, chair of SGA’s Finance Committee asked whether or not boys were allowed to join.Both girls and guys attend the practices, Coons, the instructor and progress documenter of the club, said. “Even our guy neighbors have gotten pretty good at it.” If you do not own your own hoop, it is no problem, because they are not too difficult to make, she said.Two weeks ago, the trio held a hoop-making demonstration, Lederfine Paskal, treasure of the club, said. “Our hoops that we make are made from irrigation piping,” Qaddoumi said, “After cutting the tubing the size you desire you heat up the opening with a hair dryer [and] connect the ends of the hoop.”The trio agreed that the actual hooping does not take long to master, either.”It might seem a little intimidating at first, but it is really easy to pick, up,” Lederfine Paskal said.”It really depends on how much you practice,” Coons said, “I definitely improve my skills and become more comfortable and confident every time I hoop dance.”The club tried to make a proposal last year, but did not have an advisor; this year they asked dance professor Jean-Marie Mellichamp to fill the position and she accepted, Qaddoumi said.”We figured it’d be most appropriate to have a dance professor to be our advisor, plus they seem to be more open-minded,” she said.As soon as the weather gets warmer, the club plans to campaign by demonstrations on campus and get people interested by seeing how fun and easy it is, Lederfine Paskal said. The group also plans to have tables in the Davis Center to encourage more underclassmen to join, Qaddoumi said.