Kaitlyn Lyle / Lantern reporter
Students walking through the Oval Monday night had a reason to look up from their phones and iPods, as brightly-colored balls whizzed through the air.
Members of the Juggling Club of Ohio at The Ohio State University were practicing their craft, tossing juggling balls and clubs to one another outside the William Oxley Thompson Memorial Library.
The club is a creative arts group at OSU, made up of students who enjoy juggling and other circus arts, according to the club’s Facebook page.
The group meets every Monday on the Oval at 6 p.m. to practice juggling and garner student interest in the club. Students walking by are encouraged to stop and learn a few juggling tricks, even if they’ve never juggled before.
Kevin Murnan, a fourth-year in molecular genetics and one of the club’s newer members, got involved that way.
“I was walking last week to the library and I saw these guys. I thought, ‘That looks fun,’ so I just (walked over) and they let me juggle,” Murnan said.
Murnan said he was surprised at how easy he found juggling to be. Though he meets with club, Murnan said he doesn’t have any plans to take juggling beyond that. It’s a hobby to “procrastinate me from studying, it’s working pretty well,” he said.
Club members juggle balls, clubs, rings and diablos, which resemble giant yo-yos which are tossed on a rope between two handles.
Many members of the club have gotten involved in ways similar to Murnan, while other members of the club have more juggling experience.
Jake Schnieders, a fifth-year in industrial and systems engineering, has juggled in the Ohio Renaissance Festival the past three years.
Last summer, Schnieders worked for Cincinnati Circus Co. in his hometown. The company, founded by Dave Willacker, has an indoor and outdoor circus school and a flying trapeze where visitors can learn the basics of trapeze work, according to the company’s website.
“It’s not a big top circus or anything, they just send people out to festivals and stuff,” Schnieders said.
Even with the more experienced jugglers like Schnieders, the Juggling Club maintains an informal atmosphere.
“People can just show up. We taught Kevin (Murnan), there, how to juggle last week,” Schnieders said.
The club’s president, Mark Janowiecki, agreed that they are more focused on spreading interest in juggling and practicing.
“I just send out an email. That’s kind of the only duty of the president, send an email saying this is where we’ll be and when,” he said.
Janowiecki, a second-year in entomology, has been juggling for about six years.
The fall Student Involvement Fair, held in the Ohio Union this year because of inclement weather, also increased the club’s visibility.
“I had like half a table and I was just juggling (in a really tiny space,)” Janowiecki said of the cramped conditions.
According to its Facebook page, the Juggling Club is partnered with Jest Jugglers of Columbus, Central Ohio’s longest-running juggling club.
Similar to the Juggling Club, they meet once a week and invite anyone to join and learn to juggle or ride a unicycle.
The Jest Jugglers meet Thursdays at 6:30 p.m. at Schiller Park Recreation Center in German Village, according to the group’s website.
The Juggling Club plans to continue meeting on the Oval as long as the weather allows. They have not yet decided on a meeting location for the winter months.
“We’re going to need to find a location for winter, obviously,” Schnieders said. “It’ll be a little difficult to juggle ice balls.