It started as a joke and now it’s ‘reali-tea’.
Aron Cohen and his friends often joked about creating a club on campus centred around drinking tea. Now, the Ontario Tech Tea Club brings in more than 20 people an event.
Cohen, a third-year computer science student, and his friends have always been fans of drinking tea.
“A lot of my friends from like, previous years, we kept joking about, like making a tea club. And then finally this year, we are actually like, OK, let’s do that,” said Cohen.
The club has grown quickly since its inception in September, with a group chat of more than 100 people getting updates on events.
“We’ll announce a message in the group chat saying here, the event details and all the stuff and then that’s kind of it. If you show up, you show up,” said Cohen.
The club said they also have a social media presence, but acknowledges the don’t update their Twitter feed regularly.
“We do have a Twitter account, but we don’t really have anyone that actually actively likes using social media,” said Cohen.
He said they try to host their events between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m., when students are on campus but before they leave for the evening.
The events take place in different buildings around Ontario Tech campus after they submit an event form to the Ontario Tech Student Union, which funds the club. They usually choose spaces that can hold more than 20 people.
“Everyone just does whatever. Like some people will study, some people will talk and other people will play games and stuff…like cards or board games,” said Cohen.
The board games and cards are brought by students or other club members.
“We’ve got like maybe like a dozen or so flavours, usually like one or two of every kind of thing for people who like herbal teas with no caffeine, for people who like black teas and stuff like that,” said Cohen.
Haiqa Tahir, the event coordinator of the Ontario Tech Tea Club, is no stranger to organizing events.
The first-year mechatronic engineering student is also involved in Engineering Council and Islamic Relief at Ontario Tech.
Unlike the first-year tea club, Islamic Relief has been around for five years.
“The advantage of having it (Islamic Relief) for a lot longer is we have a lot of different event ideas from past years that we can base our events on,” said Tahir.
That is not the only thing that differentiates the club from others.
“We are apparently like one of the first, literally the first group that is food or drinks-oriented,” said Cohen.
While Tahir said other clubs she is involved in got a base funding of $500 for the year, the Ontario Tech Tea Club did not get that amount.
“I’m pretty sure we only got $450 and I’m not sure why,” said Tahir.
The money goes towards the food and tea at events.
Cohen said they get tea from a variety of places. Sometimes they will order tea online or buy some from coffee and tea shop Markcols, not far from the school on Simcoe Street.
Ontario Tech catering company Aramark also supplies some Teavana teas to the club. But according to Cohen, they don’t provide much variety.
The club plans to continue their events and expand the variety of teas they offer.