The German Club hosts its very own annual Oktoberfest, a cultural celebration of all things German. This year, the club partnered with the Goose Nest to provide both beer and German food. While this year’s Oktoberfest did not feature German beer, Austin Lewis, Amanda Varvar, and Dana Panczenko enjoyed the usual beer avaible to Goose Nesters, including the popular 1554 lager.
Photo by Erin Cooper

By David Helmer
Elm Staff Writer

The German Club is an age old Washington College institution. “German club has been around for almost as long as the German Department,” said Professor James Martin, head of the Modern Language Department and German professor. The Club and department have been working together with the college community for years to help “spread awareness of German culture on campus.”

The club, in addition to working with the campus community, is also meant to help students of German to engage with German outside of the classroom. The core of the club is German students, though they welcome other students as well. Their president is Michael Deck, and the club advisor is Professor Victoria Finney. The club hosts a variety of events throughout the year so that both majors and non-majors can get together and appreciate German culture.

Claims To Fame:
Their biggest annual event is, of course, Oktoberfest. “Oktoberfest goes back to Professor Erika Salloch,” said Professor Martin. Professor Salloch hosted it at her home in Chestertown in the 1970s and ‘80s. In more recent years the festivities have moved to an on-campus location; the club started working with Dining Services in 2009 to help provide special food for the occasion.

“Student Affairs, Dining Services, and Catering were all excited about it,” said Finney. This year they served such German delicacies as potato pancakes, cabbage, and herbed potatoes.

For the first time, the German Club partnered with the Goose Nest in order to provide alcohol. Unfortunately they did not have any actual German beer, though they look to fix that at future Oktoberfests. They offered 1554 lager, Fat Tire Ale, and a seasonal pumpkin beer. The 1554 in particular was delicious and provided an excellent substitute for the missing German alcohol. Students were able to take their trays from the dining hall to the Goose Nest in order to enjoy both the excellent food and drink.

The club also sold mugs to celebrate; the money collected went to help finance club events and trips. They hold many different trips throughout the year, at least one per semester, including a possible trip in the near future to the Holocaust Museum. Other events that they have done in the past were a trip to Lancaster, Pa. to visit the Pennsylvania Dutch, and the German Heritage Museum.

Upcoming Events:
In order to help students engage with German outside of the classroom the German Club organizes activities such as movie nights and German language get-togethers. German movie night is held every Monday at 8 p.m. in the evening on the third floor common room of Chester, near the German Language suites.

Recent movies they have screened include “Nowhere in Africa,” “Soul Kitchen,” and “Run, Lola, Run,” movies made in Germany in the last 15 years. They also hold twice-weekly coffee hours on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons at Java George. These are intended to be an informal setting where beginning learners can practice their German and learn how to socialize in a different language.

For the more advanced German speakers, the club is trying to organize a new event known as a Stammtisch. The club would arrange ahead of time with a restaurant or bar in the area to have an area set aside for the more advanced German speakers to go and socialize with each other entirely in German.

The German Club does not have regular meetings, but students interested in participating in these events and maybe learn a little something about German culture should contact the club president at

The Elm

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