Student Robert Cole wants to start a club that looks at history from alternative perspectives.
"Basically, it's a conspiracy club," said Cole, a 52-year-old business major from Springfield. "Unfortunately, the word 'conspiracy' has gotten a bad connotation in the mainstream media."
Cole was signing up fellow students interested in the subject Wednesday at HCC's fall Club Fair. The fair featured tables showcasing dozens of existing clubs trying to recruit new members and sign-up sheets for students like Cole who want to start new ones.
HCC has more than 30 active clubs, from identity clubs such as the Black Student Association and the Shalom! Jewish Students Club, and academic clubs, such as the Criminal Justice Club and the Sociology Club, to interest clubs, such as HCC Players and the Japanese Anime Club.
All it takes to start a new club at HCC is to sign up at least 10 members and find an advisor.
Cole doesn't yet have an advisor for the Alternative Historical Perspectives Club, but he had more than 10 student names on his sign-up sheet.
Cole said the point of the club is to study less accepted theories of history with a serious mind. "Whether the theories are true or not is irrelevant," he said. "The purpose is to find the truth. The truth expands historical knowledge and scientific knowledge. It aggravates me that academic faculty often get punished for exploring issues outside the mainstream."
This is Cole's third time back at HCC, he said, and he's in his second year this go-round. He hopes to graduate with a degree in business next spring.
"I'm a lifelong student," he said. "I love college. I love learning. I love conspiracy theories, and I love sharing that knowledge and bringing people into the discussion."
His favorite "conspiracy" is that the Earth was populated by aliens 450,000 years ago. "The irony is that it makes Darwinists and Creationists both right and both wrong."
It's not too late to join a club. Anyone who missed the club fair and still wants to sign up should contact HCC club coordinator Veronique Leroy at (413) 552-2060 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photos: (Left) Members of the Unity Club enjoy an afternoon in the sun at the HCC Club Fair. (Right) HCC student Robert Cole, right, talks to a classmate about the Alternative Historical Perspectives Club he hopes to start at HCC.