Lounge Club Aims to Bring Students Together


Jonathan Wang

Nami Skandarian, founder and the president of The Lounge, at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah on Sept. 12, 2022. (Photo by Jonathan Wang | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Caelan Roberts, Online Managing Editor


The Lounge is one of the newest clubs on the University of Utah’s campus, and its purpose is simple — to bring students together and just hang out.

“The Lounge is a club all about making friends,” said Nami Eskandarian, a fourth-year studying computer engineering and founder and president of the club.

Eskandarian founded the club during the Spring 2022 due to his own desire to make more friends.

“It was I think out of both need and frustration,” he said. “I started school in 2019 and my second semester was when lockdown started from Covid. I was like, ‘Oh man, I hope this doesn’t ruin my next semester.’ Then it ruined two years.”

Eskandarian also found it difficult to make friends on campus in general, regardless of the pandemic because he lives off campus and commutes to school.

“I found it difficult to really just approach people and be like, ‘hey, you wanna be friends?'” he said. “So I made this club because I wanted to provide a space where people could make friends on campus. If they were struggling, or even if they wanted to make more, they can just come chill, and it’s a good time.”

The Lounge started small but experienced a big jump in membership at the start of the Fall 2022 semester.

“Back then, it was me and, like, three other people that checked Campus Connect,” Eskandarian said. “Now we’ve gotten pretty big at the beginning of this semester. We have over 100 followers on Instagram.”

Several things contributed to the growth, but none more than the Get Involved Fair held in the Union plaza earlier in the semester, where Eskandarian had a table advertising The Lounge.

“I was just getting people’s attention left and right, asking them, ‘do you want to make friends?’” he said. “That brings them over.”

The club hosts weekly lounge nights to foster socialization and allow students to meet new people.

“You don’t really have to be a member,” Eskandarian said. “You just have to show up. We offer free snacks so people are able to be more willing to talk. We find that not only does food bring people in but it sort of opens them up a bit more.”

Azel Akhmetova, second-year games major, is a member of the club and a consistent attendee of the lounge nights.

“I just saw them on Campus Connect and there were not a lot of members but I quite liked the idea,” she said. 

Akhmetova utilizes the club exactly how Eskandarian had hoped people would.

“You just come and hang out with people and that’s how I get a lot of acquaintances here,” she said. “For example, I found a friend who’s in the same program as me and we’re going to game craft meetings together.”

In addition, Akhmetova sees real-world benefits to meeting people through The Lounge. “In adult life, you’ll mostly rely on connections to find a job, or when you’re moving somewhere, and the more the merrier,” she said.

Eskandarian is nearing graduation, but he hopes The Lounge stays at the U long after he’s left it.

“I would hope to give my role as president to someone who is as eager as me for people to make friends,” he said. “The role of someone in that position, to run that club, is to open people up to the point where they’re able to make friends because it can be really hard talking to strangers. I feel like if they have that support from at least the president, to make that first step, that’s worth it to me.”


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