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Science Fiction Association celebrates Star Trek’s 50th anniversary

Emma Traband ’18 and Lily Galloway ’17 spend five hours on Friday nights enjoying sci-fi, including “Dr. Who” and “Star Trek.” Photo by Sarah Ruiz.
Emma Traband '18 and Lily Galloway '17 spend five hours on Friday nights enjoying sci-fi, including "Dr. Who" and "Star Trek." Photo by Sarah Ruiz.
Emma Traband ’18 and Lily Galloway ’17 spend five hours on Friday nights enjoying sci-fi, including “Dr. Who” and “Star Trek.” Photo by Sarah Ruiz.

The Grinnell Science Fiction Association celebrated exploring time and space last week as “Star Trek” celebrated its 50th anniversary. What started as a way to meet like-minded people in the first semester of their first year has turned into a recognized student organization with a significant following and weekly meetings. Every Friday, the Association meets for five hours in the JRC to watch a medley of science fiction TV shows.

“I just posted on Facebook one day that I was gonna watch ‘Dr. Who’ in James lounge, and then 30 people showed up,” said Lily Galloway ’17, Science Fiction Association co-founder.

Following the 50th anniversary of “Star Trek”, the Sci-Fi Association threw a party to celebrate the event. They prepared for the event by making food and compiling an episode list for the night. “Star Trek” has been an important part of the Association since its inception.

“We did make some cakes that looked like space … that was awesome. We watched the best episodes of the original series of ‘Star Trek,’” Galloway said. “We have consistently always watched one of the ‘Star Treks’ at any given time in Sci-Fi club. It’s so fun, but it’s also such a historic show.”

The group began formally when Galloway and other sci-fans chose a lineup of shows to watch for five hours on Friday nights in James lounge after Galloway’s first post about “Dr. Who.” As more and more people kept coming back, the group realized they needed to reserve the lounge.

“Eventually, we figured out that if we were going to watch sci-fi for six hours every Friday night, we probably shouldn’t do it in the lounge because other people wanted to use the TV. So then we became an official organization and started meeting in the JRC,” Galloway said.

As an official presence on campus, the Sci-Fi Association has organized weekly sci-fi marathons since 2013. Galloway has only fond memories and feels that it has been an indispensable facet of her Grinnell experience. She rarely misses a meeting and overall sees the Association as a time that has consistently provided a break from the college and allowed them to enjoy some good TV.

“It has just been so much fun to do something so informal. It’s just like watching TV with your best friends, … and you can always feel free to yell at the screen,” Galloway said.

Beyond just being a time to catch up on television and hang out with a good group of people, Galloway sees connections between her studies at Grinnell and some of the TV shows popular with the Sci-Fi Association.

“I’m an [Anthropology] student and I just love seeing the ways people contemplate first contact between humans and alien species and the ways that American culture has had an influence on the way they portray what people from other planets would be like,” Galloway said. “I always joke with people that my career goals are to become a space archaeologist because I love learning about other cultures and their history, but it would be amazing to be one of the people who gets to make contact with extra-terrestrials, … but mostly I just like it cause it’s fun.”

Although Galloway is graduating, she hopes that the result of her first year efforts to create a welcoming community on campus will last beyond her years at Grinnell. She encourages first-years to try and identify something they feel is missing from their Grinnell experience and pursue it, even if it’s as simple watching a favorite show with good friends.

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