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French Club Aims to Enhance Appreciation for Education and Culture

PLATTSBURGH, NY __ Although learning a new language can be challenging, it can also present an exciting opportunity for students to experience a new culture. This is the primary message that the French Club at the State University of New York College at Plattsburgh tries to share with the campus community.

Heather Odell and Terri Marrama According to the club's president, Heather Odell, a senior French major from Lake George, N.Y., the group has been on the Plattsburgh State campus for quite some time.

"Although we have been around for a few years, the members believe that it is time we expand the club and become more active on campus," said Odell. "This is why we want to encourage students to come and find out what we are all about."

Odell said the club aims to provide students with more than just exposure to the French language.

"There are times when we conduct our meetings entirely in French. This helps students to practice what they have been learning in their classes," She said. "Yet the club is about more than just the language. It exposes students to both French culture and the cultures of countries throughout the Francophone world from Martinique to Haiti to Senegal."

The Plattsburgh State French Club plans several activities throughout the academic year. Some of these include expos's where students present issues affecting Francophone nations, game nights, trips to Montreal and Quebec City and French movie nights on alternate Wednesdays. The next movie is scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 3 at 7:30 p.m. in 206 Yokum Hall. 

Terri Marrama, a senior French major from Malone, N.Y., is the vice president of the French Club. Marrama said the club is open to all students on this campus.
"Students do not have to be French majors or fluent in the language to be part of the club," she said. "We are a Student Association organization, and we encourage students from all majors to be part of the French Club."

Marrama believes that Plattsburgh State students can benefit greatly from being part of the organization.

"Here at Plattsburgh, students have an advantage because we are so close to French culture in Montreal and Quebec City," she said. "Students can expand their horizons, and they do not even have to go that far to do it."

Odell agrees with Marrama that students at this college are fortunate to have this geographic advantage as far as the French Club is concerned. In addition, she believes that students at Plattsburgh State have advantages of being involved in other clubs as well.

"We are very lucky to have such a wide range of clubs that involve cultures from all over the world, and I want to encourage our students to take full advantage of that," said Odell. "From Club Caribbean to Hillel, our students get the opportunity to experience the world in a way that most people never do."

The SUNY Plattsburgh French Club meets every Tuesday at 5:45 p.m. in the first floor lounge of Champlain Valley Hall. The club's advisor is Dr. Marie Cusson, assistant professor in the foreign language and literature department.
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