I spoke with three executive board members of the JMU Parrotheadz: junior Morgan Barnes, the president; sophomore Drew Holt, the vice president; and sophomore Ellie Sparagno, the secretary. Here’s what they had to say:
How did JMU Parrotheadz get started?
Morgan: “It started pretty recently, in 2014.”
Drew: “So when the club was officially started — we don’t know exactly what they were thinking, but the ones who initially started the club did come up with the mission statement that we still have now and that’s to serve and educate the JMU community … while celebrating the lifestyle of singer-songwriter — Jimmy Buffett.”
What does JMU Parrotheadz do around campus to promote this lifestyle?
M: “We do a lot of low key social events within our club. Every meeting we obviously play Jimmy Buffett … everyone gets to kind of talk about their day, like, anything that concerns them, questions, anything random like that. It’s very, like, ‘Leave your worries at the door,’ as Ellie says.”
D: “What we want to do is, like, we wanted to give students the opportunity to have, like, a place to come to actually just kinda hang out and get their mind off of the world a little bit, just listen to music, talk about what we wanna do. Like Morgan mentioned social events that we have, what she meant by that is we have plans to go to a puppy farm, we’ve gone, like, rollerskating, gone to Kline’s together …”
M: “ … pumpkin picking, the sunflower field.”
D: “But yeah, we just wanna give JMU students the opportunity to actually just, like, join a club that … allows them to relax and be a part of something.”
Ellie: “Something that I really love about this club is not only is it [all]-inclusive — it’s like you know, if you wanna join, you’re here, you’re absolutely welcome no matter who you are. But, we also have, like, such a tight bond and it’s people from all over. We have people from all different majors, all different ages and it’s a place where, like, we can relax, have fun and be ourselves and I have such a huge support system in these people and that’s what I really like and that’s what we’re trying to give others you know, is, you know, while celebrating, like, the mentality of Jimmy Buffett and other tropical singers and, you know, trying to embrace that type of lifestyle, we’re also giving people, like, friendships, you know, which is priceless and giving people a huge support system.”
M: “ … with school, you know what I mean, because there’s bound to be someone else that’s in your major or close to it. They’re taking the same class, whether it’s Gen-Eds or whatever.”
E: “We all have each other’s backs and you know, we do things together and we do things for each other, like if I needed help with like a class or something, there’s someone who could help me, someone who could tutor me. You know, if I need a ride to Wal-Mart, I know Morgan can pick me up.”
How many people are in JMU Parrotheadz?
M: “I think we have about 50 right now.”
D: “It actually has probably, like, tripled in size in, like, the last year. We have a lot more new ideas.”
M: “We basically, like, restructured the club.”
D: “And with all of these new people we have new ideas for new designs for T-shirts … we come together and since it’s all like one big club, exec — just the things that we do is that we just schedule meetings and set forth like the plans that we wanna do and then everyone else just kind of like gives us the, like the rest of it, gives us the filling and actually makes it their own.”
E: “The contributions that our new members make are priceless. I mean, they’re so great. I mean, they contribute so much to our club and so I think what’s helping us grow is not just this new exec, but also, like, all the new ideas that we have coming in and all these people who are passionate about the same things that we are and people who have the determination and, like, the passion for this club, you know, to actually make it bigger and better.”
Overall, what do you want the readers of 22807 to know about JMU Parrotheadz?
D: “I think something that we would want people to know is that, like, since, like you said, we are new, we’re only a couple years old, I want people to know that we’re out there and that anyone can join — like Ellie said — we’re all-inclusive and the whole point of it is just to really, like, relax and hang out with each other and do fun things together and that’s it.”
M: “It’s also … very much like, ‘What do you want to do? Like, let’s go do it together.’”
E: “I think that people who are trying to get involved and trying to make friends, I think something that might make them shy away from something like this is that, like, they don’t know Jimmy Buffett like we do or you know, maybe they’ve, like, never been into this kind of thing. But I mean, we were saying this at the student org night to like so many different first years and people who showed up: ‘Like, you don’t need to know a single lyric to join this club.’”
M: “It’s more, like, you know, the mentality.”
E: “It’s more about his mentality and embracing the lifestyle, you know. I mean, that’s what we want our club to be like and that’s what we try and celebrate.”
M: “You don’t have to be some crazy Jimmy Buffett fan to get involved.”
JMU Parrotheadz meets Thursdays at 7 p.m. in Taylor Hall room 309.