Chance meeting online helps C.O.A.L. students connect on campus

Two MSU Texas students revive anime club to thriving status

Before his freshman year, mass communication junior Hunter Doughty had heard about an anime club at MSU and was excited to have others with whom he could share his passion.

However, when he arrived, he was disappointed to find it had not been active for years. He wanted to change that. Little did he know, then sophomore, now mathematics senior, Jaden Towe wanted the same thing, and she had multiple friends who agreed. The two happened upon each other on TikTok, and once they discovered their shared want for an anime club, they got to work.

“I got to working and found the old bylaws by communicating with the previous members,” Doughty said. He used these as a reference to write new bylaws, while Towe gathered more members. For officers, Doughty took on president, Towe took on event coordinator and, later, vice president, and engineering junior Elizabeth Horn took on social media manager and, later, treasurer. Now, they just needed faculty advisors.

Doughty explained that as a Priddy Scholar, he thought to reach out to the program coordinator Joshua Ysasi, and ask if he knew anyone who would be interested in advising. Through there, Doughty found their original advisors and current advisor, history professor Brandon Blakeslee. Towe said she and Horn asked biology instructor Elizabeth Machunis-Masuoka to come on as an advisor after the two heard their instructor refer to an anime. With these final pieces in place and more than 30 hours of work, the Coalition of Anime Lovers was born.

Things really got rolling in Fall 2021. C.O.A.L. started hosting watch parties, giveaways, trivia nights, game nights, and more to engage new members and raise awareness. Now, the club has around 50 registered members, two faculty advisors, an active social media, and is still hosting events that sometimes have well over 20 attendants. Recently, the club hosted “Craft with C.O.A.L.,” where participants could learn how to start cosplaying and make their own costumes.

“We can’t do craft nights…as often because of budget but we tried one this semester, and our turnout was the best we ever had,” Towe said. “We saw groups of friends come in and hang out together. It was my favorite event we’ve had so far.”

Through its various events, C.O.A.L. has been giving students a place to escape the stresses of school and socialize.

C.O.A.L had a strong turnout at its recent Glass Painting event in September.  Photo courtesy of Hunter Doughty.

C.O.A.L had a strong turnout at its recent Glass Painting event in September. In top feature photo, Members of C.O.A.L. pose, including president Hunter Doughty, pictured left, and vice president Jaden Towe, pictured right. (Photos by Hunter Doughty)

 

“It’s a nice environment to have; you just go talk to people about your interests,” Doughty explained. “It’s a place for nerds and geeks to hangout, be themselves, and not worry about being made fun of.”

The club makes a point of not excluding those who have a lighter interest in anime and even welcomes those who have no experience with its content.

“Socially, there’s this misconception that if you want to talk to people about anime or want to get into anime you have to fully commit to [anime],” Towe said. “I think C.O.A.L. has done a really good job of getting people together while avoiding this misconception.”

With all their hard work, Towe and Doughty hope C.O.A.L. will carry on after they graduate. With Towe graduating in December, C.O.A.L. will be looking for new officers to fill her shoes and continue her work. Doughty is staying vigilant for a successor, as well, since he will not be at MSU forever. In the meantime, the organization is reworking its bylaws and hosting more events to maintain interest and membership. To learn more, visit their page on Mustangs Link: https://msutexas.campuslabs.com/engage/organization/coalition-of-anime-lovers.