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Courtesy Photo
Courtesy Photo

By Maria Elena Hernandez

Rio Grande Valley, Texas – This school year, The Geology Club at UTRGV celebrates its 50th anniversary, and the student organization, which started as part of UTRGV legacy institution UT Pan American, has grown in focus over the years.

“It’s just really cool knowing that there’s a legacy of the Geology Club at UTRGV,” said Mia Treviño, a UTRGV environmental science junior from McAllen, who is a member of the club.

Some of the early club members, like UTRGV physics and astronomy lecturer John Faust and retired university employee Nick Morales, are still active in the club.

UTRGV senior Brandi Reger, a multidisciplinary major, said she admires the work the club did at the very start.

“We keep getting pictures of the old trips that they did. … They basically made a research article about the geology of northern Mexico at the very beginning of this club, and we have that in our history,” she said.

Her enthusiasm isn’t limited just to the club’s past.

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“The Geology Club is the coolest club, because we go on the best trips, and we do the coolest activities, and we work with the coolest things,” she said. “I think we have the coolest stuff to talk about, honestly. You’re not just looking at an item or thing. You’re actually seeing the history of that item.”

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT

Club members also share information with the community, and on April 13, they’ll be presenting at the “Geology Rocks” event at the Edinburg Scenic Wetlands & World Birding Center.

“We do a lot of outreach programs with students, younger kids trying to get them involved in the geoscience field and to start caring about their environment,” said Spencer Lindgren, a UTRGV senior from Canada majoring in environmental science.

“Really, we’re just a group of students who are interested in learning more about the planet we live on and the interactions that we have with it.”

Lindgren said connecting with others who have shared interests is key.

“A lot of networking opportunities have come out of the Geology Club,” the UTRGV senior said.

Students meet with guest speakers during club meetings, and club members also will present at the Geological Society of America meeting in Kansas this month.

Treviño encourages students of all majors to join.

“Even if you’re studying liberal arts or something else, it’s really great to have a better understanding of the geology of where you’re from and how it’s important,” she said. CLUB’S EARLY START

Faust admits geology wasn’t his focus when he joined the club in the 1970s.

“I just liked to go camping. That’s why I started running with them,” said the UTRGV lecturer, who continues to contribute as a “friend to the club.”

He wasn’t sure if the club was officially recognized at the time.

“At any rate, we didn’t do any permission forms to go down (to Mexico),” Faust said. “We had our work to do. We went and did it.”

He said their early work was “baptized in heavy geology.”

PASSING ALONG THE LESSONS

Current members appreciate the hands-on approach, as well.

“When you’re in the classroom, you’re just seeing different diagrams and definitions of things,” Treviño said. “And then when you’re out in the field, you’re able to put pictures to real-life scenarios and get a better understanding and personalized view of what you’re learning.”

Club members have been celebrating the organization’s golden anniversary with events throughout the school year.

“Hopefully, we can use the milestone anniversary to help inspire other students to join the Geology Club,” Treviño said.

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