January 29, 2015 Facebook Twitter Linkedin

From left to right: Mark (President), Erin (VP Kinship), Haley (VP Finance), and Yvonne (VP Communications)


By Lisa Michienzi, Intern, King’s Communications & Media Relations


They call themselves the Than Clan, the new academic club for the Thanatology department at King’s. Much like other academically based campus clubs, Than Clan hopes to create a supportive social leaning environment for students to gather and discuss the topic of Thanatology.

The goal of King’s newest club is to provide intellectual stimulation through social situations regarding the fields of death, dying, and bereavement in an academic but friendly and welcoming setting.

The club is aimed at students of Thanatology however, the club president, Mark Shelvock, hopes that students from other disciplines are not deterred from joining too, as the club welcomes any and all students interested in this area of study.

“As humans, we will all experience loss in our life, and an inevitable death is something all human beings currently share on our planet. Death, and loss in general, is often seen as a very negative and misunderstood topic, yet any student who has taken a Thanatology course knows that these courses actually act in the opposite manner; it gives one the appreciation of life and to seek out a more fulfilling and satisfying life, by learning how to accept death and loss, and understanding how it molds us as human beings,” states Shelvock.

The Than Clan, which is student run, will be working with Professor Eunice Gorman from the Department of Interdisciplinary Programs (Thanatology). Dr. Gorman, a registered nurse and social worker has worked in a number of fields related to Thanatology including oncology, palliative care, bereavement, perinatal bereavement, professional caregiver support and chronic illness as a clinician. Her work has allowed her to be a teacher, researcher, administrator and speaker on the topic throughout her career.

The club hopes to promote positive discussions amongst its members by exploring topics such as alternative therapies, cultural views regarding death, social and political issues, spiritual and philosophical issues, and psychological issues regarding death studies.

The Than Clan will explore these topics by hosting a variety of activities such as cultural celebrations like Day of the Dead, participating in physical and spiritual therapies such as Reiki and Yoga, hosting meet and greets and by operating a professional speaker series.

Shelvock says that the club will act as a tool for students to discover and inquire more about death as a natural part of life, and a part of life that should be celebrated. “By acknowledging that life is a finite resource and is very precious, students may be able to critically think and achieve their goals, how to obtain a happy meaningful life.”

The club will meet between one and three times a month, kicking off with its first social event, a Meet and Greet, Tuesday February 3, from 7-10 pm in the Vitali Student Lounge in Wemple. All are welcome to attend. Those interested in joining, club fees for the Than Clan are $5.

Any students who wish to contact the club with questions, concerns or comments can do so at: than.clan@kucsc.com.