The Grid, Baruch College’s roleplaying and tabletop gaming social club, recently celebrated its fifth anniversary. Since its founding day, the club has increased about a third in member size, and is known for having membership policies that make it one of the more distinct clubs on campus.
The Grid was formed in 2013 when founder, Dan Karaban and his peers looked to start a club that was not business-focused and was purely for social purposes. The basis for the club was to be a means for students to relax and engage with one another outside of classes. Upon founding it, Karaban decided that he wanted the club to be as inclusive as possible. He felt that roleplaying games were the ideal way to do that because of their easy-to-teach foundation and capability to host multiple players.
Roleplaying games have been around since the 1970s, yet the industry is seeing a resurgence now with clubs like The Grid forming around the country.
Anthony Cimitile, treasurer of The Grid, spoke about member retention, particularly regarding how the club runs differently than most other clubs at Baruch when it comes to appealing to different types of students.
“Our members are usually part of other clubs, so they already have club responsibilities,” said Cimitile. Ensuring that members are not taking on too many responsibilities at once is a concern for The Grid’s executive board, as they have learned from other clubs that members who feel burdened by the work do not tend to return.
“We believe that culture is important but so is having fun, and in a commuter, business school it’s vital that people have somewhere to go but do not feel obligated.”
To members of the club, culture is a large factor as to why they continue to engage. There is no minimum requirement to be part of the club and members are not expected to appear at every meeting. Cimitile claims that the club is not meant to feel like another check on a to-do list, but rather a healthy distraction from the outside world’s expectations.
“If people come then they come, we get that not everyone is up to always talk or engage and that is okay,” said Cimitile. This method of member engagement has proven to be successful because the club has bounced from 50 members to 78 members and has seen continuous growth based on rolling enrollment into the club.
Its unique membership policy is part of what keeps bringing members back. Even alumni and professors keep up their engagement with The Grid by donating resources, such as board games and cards. The Grid’s presence on campus has also allowed for more relaxed club interactions, as many of its large-scale events are unconventional and quite curious. The Grid has succeeded in engaging Baruch students and emphasizing the importance of learning about different means of leisure.
One of The Grid’s most notable events is the Rock, Paper, Scissors challenge held in the second floor lobby of the Newman Vertical Campus. Open to the entire school, students may participate in an old-school rock, paper, scissors duel for a chance to win an Amazon gift card. The activity is another way that members of The Grid assist students in lowering their stress.
The next duel is set for mid-November around midterms.