Club obligations don't get much easier than Virginia Tech's Cigar Club.
Nearly 20 students gather every week at Champs Sports Bar downtown to do what they love: smoke cigars and chat with friends.
"That's what it's about, getting together and smoking cigars," said club member and senior aerospace engineering major Sam Kantor between puffs on his cigar. "Occasionally we meet at places other than Champs or get together and play poker or mini golf. It's like a fraternity, only less expensive."
The Cigar Club was founded seven years ago with the help of Joe Nazare of Blacksburg Pipe & Tobacco, who at the time owned Champs. Since then, it has been tradition for the club to meet there and the club is lucky to have Champs considering the recently-passed legislation banning smoking in restaurants and bars unless there is a separate smoking room with a separate ventilation system.
"(The new law) was a big concern last year," Kantor said, "but Champs set up proper ventilation down here."
The downstairs ventilation system is separate from the upstairs bar, which means smoking is allowed.
"Champs actually used to be three separate stores which means it already had separate ventilation so it was easy to set up," said Judson Stutts who tends the bar for the club every Wednesday. "It's actually one of the few bars in Blacksburg that could do that and I enjoy having the club here."
The club has grown from a couple of cigar aficionados to a group that nearly fills the smoking bar, and this year seems to show the largest club yet, said junior aerospace engineering Tom Kasmer, the current president of the club.
"Cigars are different from cigarettes," he said. "I don't smoke cigarettes."
"When you smoke a cigar, you're not getting all the artificial things put into cigarettes," said former president and senior accounting major Zac Kelly. "It's an artisan product, someone crafted it by hand."
The club isn't solely about relaxation though. Once a year the club hosts a fundraiser for the Cigar Family Charitable Foundation called "Smoke Out Poverty." The Cigar Family Charitable Foundation is a charity that funds education as well as health care and nutrition funding to poverty-stricken communities in the Dominican Republic where tobacco and cigar making comprises a large portion of the economy. The club sets up on the Drillfield with a table and a few signs, giving away cigars in exchange for donations. The event takes place Nov. 18 and cigar company representatives will be present.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Source: Virginia Tech Collegiate Times Online Edition