The Blossoming of Friends club joins together for their club meetings in the basement of the University of Indianapolis Schwitzer Center. This club offers the opportunity for neurodivergent and neurotypical students to create friendships, according to senior finance major and club president Zach Schankerman.
According to senior criminal justice major Carter Sternberg, the club was founded by alumnus Brooklyn Robertson. He said she started the club to help mend the gap between neurotypical people and neurodivergent people. Once a month, the club will meet and host parties for anyone to attend, where there will be activities and games.
“So, once a month, we will have an event. They’re not meetings, per se, they’re parties for anyone,” Sternberg said. “For example, this month we’ll have a Halloween party on the Friday before Halloween, and then in November, we still have to plan that, but it’s going to be something like Friendsgiving. And then December will be a holiday themed party.”
Senior creative writing major Liza Harris said that originally, the idea was to have people assigned to one another. However, she said that the idea never worked out, so now members hang out together during meetings.
“I think it helps people understand, and it gives people who are neurodivergent the chance to be social and work, we push out of their comfort zones..,” Harris said. “Our hope is that we can kind of understand each other.”
Schankerman said he hopes that other students can gain a better understanding of their peers that experience neurodiversity. He said that building relationships in school is a huge part of his college experience.
“I hope that other students on campus are more aware of the challenges that neurodivergent people face, and I hope that we just have a greater understanding for each other, are able to build friendships and that’s a really important part of college to me,” Schankerman said. “… Being able to develop not only your academic self, but your personal self and I think having both pieces [is] huge for all students.”
Schankerman said he took over as president this year when Robertson graduated. He said that if anyone is interested in joining, they can reach out to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“I think that the club has gone well throughout the time I have been a part of it,” Schankerman said. “One of my hopes is that we continue to grow, and that we get more neurotypical people in the room, so that there is a better understanding of perspectives.”