By W. Wade DeVinney
For The Diamondback
It started with a Discord server where the only thing members could type were the words “fart club.”
Nine months, hundreds of members and a police call investigating a disturbance at SECU Stadium later, senior and Fart Club creator Anders Spear was advertising his production at the First Look Fair.
“The club has nothing to do with farting,” Spear, the club’s president, said. “It just seemed like a fun challenge to get the club registered under the name ‘Fart Club.’”
Even the club’s motto, “We do what we must because we can,” is a reference to the club existing just for the sake of being a club at the University of Maryland.
“Fart Club was created to answer the question ‘could we?’” junior and assistant to the director Kevin Canha said. “And the answer is yes, we can.”
Although Canha, a computer science major, is officially the assistant to the club’s director, Fart Club has no director. Along with bean counter in chief and sniffer in chief, it is a role that exists simply to be an electable position in the club.
The concept started on Dec. 5, 2022 when Spear created a Discord server where the only words members could type were “fart club.” It was not until February that Spear emailed his computer science professor Clifford Bakalian asking him to be the faculty sponsor of a registered student organization.
“I was skeptical,” Bakalian said. “I didn’t know what it was, I just knew the name.”
Spear, who had taken classes with Bakalian for his computer science major, later met with him in person to explain the concept of Fart Club.
After the meeting, Bakalian saw no reason not to sign on.
“It didn’t seem bad,” Bakalian said. “No one was getting hurt… it wasn’t a thing that seemed to be antagonistic towards anyone.”
By April, Fart Club had satisfied all requirements to become an official registered student organization. In addition to acquiring a faculty sponsor, the group drafted a constitution consisting of 12 “Farticles” and had registered with the IRS. The club appeared on Terplink on April 14.
In the spirit of being unusual, Fart Club originally held its meetings at the 50 yard line in SECU Stadium, the home field of this university’s football team. But once the attendance grew to more than 60 in the third meeting, the club was asked to leave.
“We got away with it when we were very small,” junior computer science major and Fart Club treasurer Oscar Popkin said. “I guess it was too hard to be discreet.”
The club has been making plans for the future, including a formal dance at the Xfinity Center. While the high cost of renting out the arena leaves the possibility of the event up in the air, the group has achieved one of their primary goals of legitimacy as an organization.
Fart Club is not a joke, but an experiment, and one that Spear is passionate about.
“I do care about Fart Club’s image,” Spear said. “I have an idea for what I want Fart Club to be, and I try to mold it into that.”