If you’ve been around the Student Union, chances are you’ve seen a flyer for the SpongeBob Club,  founded by Sammy Mahmoudi (President of SpongeBob Club. Title: King Neptune (remember? Ruler of the seas, sucks at making Krabby Patties, BALD! BALD! BALD!), a freshman in ATEC. 

Sammy created his own SpongeBob Club in high school. Although people did promise they would help him with running the club, they didn’t follow through, so he had to run the club all by himself. This meant organizing events and meetings, creating T-shirts and posters, just to name a few of the tasks. Even so, Sammy found the club to be enjoyable, and he wanted to create a SpongeBob Club here at UTD. Last semester, Sammy met Andrew Blackstone and Nick (who chose not to share his last name, Vice President, title: Squire (poor underling to King Neptune), who became enthusiastic about the idea of a club dedicated to everyone’s favorite underwater sponge. They also found Nick Pinto, who serves as the Treasurer (Title: Mr. Krabs. For obvious reasons). They pitched their club through the UTD subreddit and were met with lots of support. The process of making a club was long, with several months of creating documents and official paperwork, such as a Constitution, Application Form, and a Room Request. The club was even asked to make a Bank Account for managing the club’s expenses, which they declined to do. All this paperwork would make sense for a serious club, but for something that was meant to be a fun club for hanging out, you can imagine the frustration that the officers felt. Soon, they were approved by the SOC (Student Organization Center), and a SpongeBob club was underway. But soon, they ran into a problem: they needed legal permission to watch SpongeBob episodes on campus.

If you and a group of friends want to privately watch a show or movie, all you need is a copy of said show or movie, and you’re good to go. But if you’re an officer of a club at a university or you’re organizing a public event screening a show or movie, you need legal permission from its owners to watch it in a public setting. The SpongeBob Club found out about this when they were told so by the SOC. They tried contacting Amazon, whose Prime Video service has episodes of SpongeBob available to stream, but they refused. They found no luck with Viacom, who owns Nickelodeon and the rights to the show. So instead of watching SpongeBob, the SpongeBob Club is a celebration of SpongeBob (I am amazed at how many times I’ve typed the word “SpongeBob”). 

SpongeBob Club is not merely a place to wax poetic about our favorite underwater fry cook, but it’s also a social gathering, with each meeting having different activities related to SpongeBob. Sammy felt that many of the clubs here on campus were too serious and had meetings too late, and he wanted to make a club that was fun and accessible to  commuter students and others who had holes in their schedule.He also wanted to make a club that would help students make connections, something that was stressed in the ATEC program.

I was able to visit two club meetings the past few weeks, and I enjoyed the different activities that the club, such as a friendly series of Smash Bros (the casual matches took place in different SpongeBob-themed custom stages) and playing spooky (read: not spooky at all) creepypasta games based around SpongeBob. I was kind of disappointed that I didn’t get to watch SpongeBob together with new people, but I was taken back by how much effort and creativity the officers put into planning each weekly meeting. I’m glad to say that the officers were able to get over the obstacle of not being able to watch SpongeBob quite resourcefully.

The SpongeBob Club is perfect for any Comet who can’t get enough of the Sponge that lives in a pineapple under the sea. This club meets on Wednesday from 11 AM to 1 PM in SU 2.502 for anyone interested. I think this club is perfect for commuters like me who can’t hang out around campus late at night and who feel that they can’t find many new friends around school, and I for one am glad to have met fellow SpongeBob fans, and I’m certain I will attend more meetings from here on out.

As we all know, the current situation with the Coronavirus means all student meetings on campus are effectively cancelled. Though this has thrown a curveball into the plans of many clubs like the SpongeBob Club, I have been told that the club will be hosted in their discord server for the remainder of the semester. In order to join the SpongeBob Club during this time, join their discord server at https://discord.gg/XzArnaV