Pokémon Go bolsters new club at GVSU

GVL / Courtesy Grand Valley Pokemon Club
Austin Freneczi

GVL / Courtesy Grand Valley Pokemon Club Austin Freneczi

Ty Konell

This summer’s release of the Pokémon Go app has led to a new influx of Pokémon fans at Grand Valley State University, who can be seen virtually anywhere with a phone in hand. Welcoming new fans, the GVSU Pokémon club offers weekly meetings for lovers of the franchise.

The GVSU Pokémon Club (GVPC) was founded in the winter semester of 2016, and has grown into a weekly club meeting every Wednesday to partake in an array of activities surrounding Pokémon. Finn Marcks, president and founder of GVPC, has been playing for years and has been dedicated to the game throughout its generations.

“I was 7 or 8 and I went to this daycare that had a community Game Boy for us to play on, and they had the ‘Pokémon Red’ version,” Marcks said. “I had never played Pokémon before and I would run in there every day to get my hands on this Game Boy before anyone else so they couldn’t delete my file, and so I could beat the game.”

Not only Marcks has felt a connection to the franchise, but members of the executive board said Pokémon offers a chance for comfort and community.

“It was a form of escapism. Pokémon was always something I could find comfort in,” Marcks said.

“It’s really cool because it’s something that a lot of people on campus are really into, but I guess we don’t really talk about a lot,” said Tai Johnson, public relations officer for the club. “It’s kind of fun to be able to meet other people who have the same interests as you.”

Furthermore, executive board members of the club said the franchise is something that can be enjoyed and celebrated by people of all ages.

“It was created by adults. I think it’s now become a cross-generational franchise,” Marcks said. “People my age have grown up with it to the point where now they are having children and introducing their children to it.”

With the July release of Pokémon Go, a phone app that allows users to catch Pokémon in real time, the GVSU Pokémon Club has noticed an increase in interest and recognition among fans of the game on campus.

“Pokémon Go has definitely hyped up interest in Pokémon a bit more,” said Austin Ferenczi, GVPC club secretary.

“With the release of Pokémon Go back in July, I’m now familiar with almost every Pokémon Go player or Pokémon fan on campus,” Marcks said. “There’s definitely an increased sense of community.”

As the game offers a chance to go outdoors, Marcks said the club often takes trips around campus to hunt Pokémon, take a break from studying and get some exercise.

The GVSU Pokémon Club officials believe meetings are an efficient way to meet people with similar interests and cultivate a positive environment.

“It’s a nice, safe space for people who love Pokémon to get together and generally have fun, talk about Pokémon and meet people who have similar interests,” Ferenczi said. “Everyone is always really happy and they love to talk to each other and we all bond. The energy of the club is my favorite part about it.”

“It’s nice to be able to talk about something you’re all really passionate about, but doesn’t involve school because sometimes you just need a break,” Johnson said. “This is a place to make friends who all have something in common and be able to talk about something they enjoy and have fun with.”

For more information, visit www.facebook.com/gvsupc.