The Fishbowl…without the fish

By Staff Writer Madison Kenn

From first glance, it may seem as if you’d be roped into reading an article regarding fish bowls. You’re in luck, because no, this is not a detailed passage about the shape, size, or structure of homes for aquatic animals. If you were looking forward to that…this is the wrong place. “Fishbowl” is actually a club on campus hosted by the club president, Johnny Perreira, also known as former and current member of The Torch Staff.

The club meets every Wednesday from 6-8 pm in The Dive, located on the first floor of Maple Ridge in the Freshman Quad. Certain weeks are held in specific locations, including the Market Place and Birch Grill. Everyone is welcome, and has the choice of speaking or listening.

Those who wish to speak write their name on a slip of paper and places it in a fishbowl. Those names will then be drawn from the bowl to speak in front of the audience within the maximum amount of 10 minutes. Each and every guest speaker is timed, taken a photograph of, and recorded and will be posted in the Umass Dartmouth podcast unless requested otherwise. Every Wednesday has a different theme, this following Wednesday, November 7 theme was “What could go wrong?”

The Fishbowl is a great opportunity for students and faculty to share their personal experiences in a supportive, and accepting environment. In this weeks theme, club members had the choice of bringing notepads to the meeting, drawing those who were willing to share their stories aloud. The drawings could be kept to oneself or shared amongst the group members; whatever the artist desired. Throughout the event, pizza is served, and members gather around the single chair in the front of the dimly lit room, giving their full and undivided attention to whoever has the spotlight. Fishbowl is always welcoming newcomers, as well as inviting back several familiar faces, either those seen under the spotlight, or in the crowd.

In fact, club members are on the lookout for new Fish Bowl leaders, such as the president, vice president, and host. Flyers can be found at any meeting locations. Please, stop by if this gains your interest, or just check it out for the heck of it!

There’s no requirement to stay, students can walk in and out but are asked to respect those who are speaking, as it is for some, nerve racking to be the center of attention.

On this week’s topic, “What could go wrong?” speakers shared their personal stories, from a stressful day in New York City, to a humorous childhood memory. Members in the audience were on the edge of their seats, fully indulged in the words being spoken, or laughing along with the speaker. Everyone gave a round of applause after the story was finished being told, or a few snaps of the fingers.

There is no judgement during “The Fish Bowl” meetings, and nobody is required or pressured to speak aloud, but it is praised upon to share a story! Stop by, who knows, you may enjoy it, and who passes up free food and entertainment? The next meeting is held at Birch Grill, and who doesn’t love the great quality food and environment of Birch? This is a great opportunity for faculty and students to express themselves in a supportive environment and to listen to each other with a sympathetic and empathetic ear. Some may not be comfortable with public speaking or sharing their personal experiences, which is reasonable, and the more meetings that you attend, maybe you’ll build up the courage to speak!

Friends are guaranteed to be made during these club meetings, as it is a small group of people gathered together who share similar interests. For information on the next meeting, you can contact me with the Umass Dartmouth email address listed above, or follow the Fishbowl account on Facebook to stay updated! Tell them that Maddie sent you!

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