Imagine, if you will, a coalition of bearded men and (not-so-bearded) women at RIT united under the common goals of helping the community and having fun. A club in which those who take great pride in their beards, those heavily involved in the process of growing one and those who just admire them can come together under this glorious facial hair umbrella. It may seem a little daunting at first, but RIT’s Beard Enthusiasts At RIT Demonstrating Success (BEARDS) club hopes to provide these services and to make sure you have a great time along this particularly hairy journey.

“Technically, BEARDS stands for ‘Beard Enthusiasts At RIT Demonstrating Success,’ but we switch it up a lot.  Mostly the ‘D.S.’ part.  Some days it’s just ‘Doing Stuff’,” says club president Griffin Kettler. “Us founding fathers came up with [the concept for the club] one day when we were just sitting around and realized, ‘Oh, wow, we all have beards!’ It was so long ago that I honestly don’t remember the details, but we just totally ran with it.”            

Griffin says: “We definitely started the club just for kicks and giggles at first, but things have been getting more serious this year. We’re still all about just having fun and eating pancakes, though.” While BEARDS may be growing past its humble beginnings and into bold new bearded frontiers, the club is still very much rooted in a hands-off attitude. “I don’t really think we have a message or anything,” says Griffin. “We’re still just people with a common interest in getting together, interacting with each other and trying to do good under a common guise of beards.”   


Another aspect that sets BEARDS apart from its fellow clubs is its ‘do it yourself’ mindset. “It’s been totally word of mouth,” says Griffin.  “I really do think that for that reason we have some serious potential to do good at RIT. At this point I’d say we’re a social organization moving to become a service organization.” This transition into a club more involved in community outreach is being bolstered by BEARDS’ current “Beard Bounty” initiative. “Basically, we’re just shaving our beards for charity,” says Vice President Tyler Schrodt. “We’re paying the ultimate price.”   


This commitment to beard growth and admiration can be seen through its principal members’ “tools of the trade.” They highly recommend that perspective beard growers take note. “Personally, I use a nice set of clippers just to make sure my beard doesn’t go into ‘crazy beard status’ or anything,” says Griffin. “Also, you can’t ever go wrong with mustache wax. A lot of mustache wax. Adornments like flowers or whatever aren’t a bad place to start either!”   


For those who aren’t so genetically blessed to grow mighty beards:  “Just don’t give up,” advices Griffin. “It doesn’t matter if you can grow a great beard or not here. We have anywhere from one-weekers to six-monthers here and some people who just can’t grow beards at all. We’re just a bunch of male and female beard enthusiasts and that’s what’s important.”

However, if you can grow a beard, Griffin doesn’t hesitate to offer some particularly enthusiastic styling tips. “You can’t go wrong with ‘The Wolverine’,” he says. “Also, you can’t ever go wrong with a really nice mustache if you can grow one. Big, burly lumberjack beards are ideal too.” Yet Griffin believes that there is no specific style that works for everyone. “If you can grow one and you’re confident about it, it’ll work for you.” 

This sense of optimism and acceptance is one that permeates all of BEARDS. Man or woman, beard-blessed or beardless, all are welcome, just as long as you can admire a nice beard. “We just love beards here,” adds Griffin. “It doesn’t matter if you have one or not. Just stop on by.”      

BEARDS meets every other Friday in the Gosnell (GOS) Atrium.