By Grace Murphy
The German Club returned to Franciscan University this semester after previously being inactive.
Freshman Sean Wagner is serving as the first president in the club’s new era. While Wagner is a theology and catechetics major, he said he hopes to minor in German. His interest in German was piqued after first learning it in high school.
“I’m very glad I took German just since it is such an interesting language. You could make the argument too that it is also just very practical for theology majors since there is so much theology and just so much scholastic history originally written in German,” said Wagner.
He continued, saying that “German is a useful language if you just want to go into the scholarly field. And it’s just so much fun.”
Wagner said that one of his main motivations for reviving the club was to renew interest in the German program on campus.
Franciscan University has not yet hired a replacement for the former department head of modern languages and German professor Beate Engel-Doyle, who passed away fall 2021. Currently, German is not listed as an offered major on Franciscan’s online modern language program’s page.
He said, “I like to think of it (the club) as the first step in getting the German program and the renewal of German interest back on campus. Right now, it is just supposed to be a resource for learning about German.”
The German club is currently planning out their events for the semester. Sean suggested possible events to look out for in the future would include German movie nights, culture nights, rosaries and crash courses in the German language.
Wagner said, “There were a lot of people who were interested in just learning a little bit of German; obviously they can’t take classes full time or are already doing other languages, but some kind of elementary German instruction.”
Wagner said that these crash courses in the German language would be specifically useful for students going to Austria, which is a German speaking country.
The club held its first meeting a few weeks ago and showed the German movie “Balloon.” Wagner said that the German club has plans to continue meeting on Friday nights. Wagner added that there was high interest at the club’s first meeting, with about sixty people in attendance.
The club also has some more ambitious goals for its future.
“Big goals is for this (the club) to get stable and for this to be a permanent part of campus culture. That’s goal number one since there is just so many people, evidenced by so many people interested,” said Wagner.
He continued, “Step two is to hopefully do what we can to … get a full time German professor.”
Wagner said that the club hoped to one day host a large German fest on campus.
Wagner discussed the German club as a possible link to students’ having a greater appreciation for German and Austrian culture while studying in Gaming.
He said, “Fostering more integration, preparing people better for Austria and fostering more communication and togetherness between Austria campus and this campus would be good. I think the German club could be a very good bridge for that.”
Wagner said he wanted to stress that the German club was not only for people who knew German or wanted to know German. Rather, it is for anyone curious about the German culture and language.
He said, “This club is for German enthusiasts, not for people who know German.”
Wagner encourages students to keep an eye out for upcoming German club event advertisements, promising a good time and sick German memes.