My final project is a look at the EIU Sword Fighter’s Guild. It is their first year as a group on campus, and it looked like an interesting group to cover. The group does not have many members, but it does not stop them from meeting twice a week to battle with foam swords in the Basement of Stevenson Hall.
The second part of the project features a profile on one the prominent members of the group, Brandon Sanders. He has been part of the group since the beginning of the semester, and the group has helped him overall become more focused, a better student and a better leader. The profile of Sanders is in the word document. The full profile will also be below the photo if the document cannot be opened. The photo for the story will also be the feature photo.
Cutline: Sophomore geology major Brandon Sanders (right) fights freshman pre-engineering major Tylor Vannarath (left) at the EIU Sword Fighter’s Guild. Sanders and Vannarath hope to have executive positions in the group for the 2016-17 school year.
Profile: Sanders’ transformation to a better leader
Brandon Sanders came to EIU in the fall of 2014, and he did not really get involved on campus at the time.
He came decided as a geology major, and he hopes to work as teacher in high school or professor at the university level.
During his freshman year, he usually spent his time studying and hanging out with friends on his floor in Taylor Hall.
He finished his freshman with the thought of getting more involved his sophomore year and joining a student organization.
In the fall 2015, Sanders went to Pantherpalooza in hopes of finding a group that may appeal to him.
It was there that he saw the newly established EIU Sword Fighter’s Guild, and the group immediately caught his attention.
“Yes, that sounds awesome,” Sanders said recalling the time he saw the group’s informational table.
It is now the end of his semester as a member of the group, and Sanders said the group has had a positive impact on him and has changed him from the course of the semester.
“I didn’t really know what to expect in the beginning except for sword fighting, but the group is actually so much more,” Sanders said. “The Sword Fighter’s Guild has allowed me to put more concentration on tasks and actually helped me with school work.”
Sanders said sword fighting is discipline and anticipating his opponent’s next move helped him focus more on certain tasks.
Briea Reid, president of EIU Sword Fighter’s Guild, said Sanders has improved significantly over the course of the semester when it comes to sword fighting.
“The group is more of fun stress reliever, and from what I’ve seen over the course of the semester, people have usually stayed at same skill level from when they started,” Reid said. “Sanders is actually one of the few who has shown great improvement from when we started.”
Sanders said he went to group meetings as often as possible on Mondays and Thursdays, and said the group was also able to provide stress relief from course work and allow him to relax.
“Going to meetings on Monday is always fun because there is no better way to start a busy week than to hit people with swords,” Sanders said. “I have a full schedule on Thursday, and way to get rid of stress and wind down after a busy week is to just fight it out.”
Reid said also Sanders has developed leadership skills throughout his time in the group, and when she cannot attend meetings, Sanders helps lead.
“I may not always be able to attend meetings because of school commitments, and when I cannot attend, I can always trust Brandon to lead the way,” Reid said. “He was a bit shy in the beginning, but he has really opened himself up to be a great leader.”
Tylor Vannarath, freshman pre-engineering major and member of the group, said Sanders is one of his favorite members to sword fight because he “puts up a challenge.”
“Brandon and I are some of the regular members of group meetings, and I feel like we have both improved a lot over the course of the semester,” Vannarath said. “He always puts up a challenge when I face him, and I may have more wins over him, but he is the one I have the most trouble with.”
Sanders said the improved skills of concentration and focus have increased because of the group, and those skill have been able translate to school work as well.
“I was the type of student who would lose focus easily with something that was boring and that was usually the case with any homework,” Sanders said. “I have been able to remain more focused and concentrated when reading, studying and doing homework with what I learned from the group,” Sanders said.
Sanders said there is much to the group than what students may expect from just the name of the EIU Sword Fighter’s Guild.
“There is so much more than sword fighting here, and people may not realize that,” Sanders. “I was able to become a better student, be a better leader, hangout with awesome people and just fight people with swords.”
Reid said she “hopes” Sanders returns to the group in the spring semester, and said he could take an executive position in the group the school year.
Sanders said he would recommend anyone to join the group because it has helped become a better student and become more involved on campus.
“This group has had such a positive impact on me this semester, and I think it can do the same for other students,” Sanders said. “I cannot wait for the start of spring semester to how much I can improve and see any new faces that join the group.”