Boise State offers countless clubs for students to join. The Bee Team cares for honey bees, while the Fishing Club promotes fishing as an outdoor activity and brings enthusiasts together.
Boise State harvests an array of clubs and societies for students and faculty to explore their interests, expand their passions, and foster community. In offering a safe space for students who identify as neurodivergent, a new club offers just that and much more.
The Neurodivergent Student Society, a club only in its second semester, was brought to life by club president Jessica Ross, and financial officer Michael Ward.
Ward, a sophomore computer science student, and Ross, a sophomore associate of arts major, joined the Students with Disabilities Association and aimed to create a similar club for neurodivergent students at BSU.
“One of my friends wasn’t sure if she could join the disability club because she is autistic and that’s not necessarily considered a disability,” Ross said. ”I figured some people might fit better in the neurodivergent club than the disabled club.”
The pair’s mission is to cultivate a sanctuary at Boise State that is free of judgment and expectations.
“Our goal with this club is to create a safe space for neurodivergent students as well as neurotypical students to interact, make new friends, and learn more about neurodivergence,” Ward said. “We hope to create accessible events and potentially fundraise for helpful organizations in the future.”
Ross shared that she would like to see the club gain recognition, and hopes the club can make changes in schools and society.
“[I want to see] more acceptance of neurodivergence and more accommodations and less violence. There’s still a school in America that uses electric shock against disabled and neurodivergent kids,” Ross said, referring to a 2021 New York Times article, detailing the controversial Judge Rotenberg Educational Center and their inhumane treatment of students with intellectual disabilities through electric shock.
Rad Nguyen, a senior gaming interactive media mobile major, joined the club in February 2023 to learn more about neurodivergence and how it could relate to them. Nguyen feels the club has provided a safe space for them to hang out and meet others who share their experiences.
“We had gaming sessions over the summer, and it was just nice to hang out and meet people. The chats have been a supportive and [a] safe space,” Nguyen said. “I do feel that clubs like these are important. They give visibility for people who often don’t have a voice and support for those that need it most.”
Demi Howell, a junior theater arts major, added to Nguyen’s sentiments on what the club has provided for its members.
“The club has provided me a space to learn more about neurodivergence and to share in the college experience with folks who see the world similarly to myself,” Howell said. “I think it’s a great place for neurodivergent students to meet one another and find solidarity in a world that seems ill-designed for them.”
Members of the Neurodivergent Students Society all expressed their agreement with the enjoyment and security the club has brought them. The club’s existence has thrilled members and offers them hope for the possibility of more diverse spaces.
Fallyn O’Connor, a freshman illustration major, feels that clubs and spaces like the Neurodivergent Student Society are essential.
“They allow people who feel or are different to be seen and have a place to truly be themselves,” O’Connor said.
The Neurodivergent Students Society meets every other Friday from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Student Equity Center on the BSU campus. You can also join the meetings virtually on the club’s discord, which you can find on their Engage profile.
A club election will take place in November, and the club is looking for more members and candidates. Ross shared that if no one runs for election, the club will close. So whether you are a student who identifies as neurodivergent or neurotypical, or you simply want to join a positive atmosphere and meet friends, come get involved in this club.