Time traveling alien brings MU students together for Doctor Who at Mizzou

The group plans to travel to St. Louis and volunteer in the community.
Members of the Doctor Who at Mizzou club pose for a group photo while working at their organization’s booth. Courtesy of Doctor Who at Mizzou

“Sonic Screwdriver?”

The clock was ticking.

“The Doctor playing cricket?”

Only a few seconds remained.

“The Doctor and a Jedi fighting!”

In a small classroom in Stewart Hall, the two teams sat in a semi-circle, facing each other. Most people had on a T-shirt with the Tardis, the Doctor’s spaceship, on the front. Team Cybermen received their first point as time ran out, tying up the Pictionary game that started just moments beforehand.

Doctor Who is a long-running television show that has developed a strong following over its 50 years on air. The show is a classic sci-fi story, following the travels of an alien called the Doctor as he tries to save the Universe.

Doctor Who at Mizzou started about two years ago with the idea that it would be a service club, uniting people with a common interest so they could do good. As senior Lindsay Henderson described, the club was going “to save Columbia the way the Doctor saves the world.”

Over time, though, the club has developed into a place for members to come together, discuss the show and get to know people with a similar interest: an alien traveling through time and space in a blue box.

But for others, like President Quenton Laroe, it is something more than that.

“Doctor Who has its friendships, it’s got its tragedy, it’s got its action, it’s got its comedy, it’s got its mystery,” Laroe said. “But in the end, whenever you watch an episode, you’re always left with the feeling of just awe.”

Because of its variety, the club has drawn a diverse crowd for its membership.

“We’re all very different, but it’s so cool to have this commonality where we’re able to come together,” Vice President Holly Moore said. “It is a place where I feel welcomed as myself. I can talk about the weird shows that I love and everybody is just as excited about it as I am.”

A typical meeting for the club at 7 p.m. Thursdays includes an activity that ties in with the show, such as Doctor Who Pictionary, a discussion about business and a possible trip to get food afterward. The members get to know one another through their shared love of the show and sometimes find other similar interests outside of Doctor Who.

“The purpose behind it is a place where people who are Doctor Who fans can come together and meet together and get to know one another,” Moore said. “Also, we do things like we go to (conventions) together. I think we’re planning to go to one in St. Louis later this year, and then we’ll go out and do volunteer events together, too.”

The club’s big events are their fall corn maze and a potential trip to a convention in the spring. Laroe said that this year they are hoping to raise the funds to travel to Wizard World in St. Louis together as a group.

Doctor Who, as a show, has brought together millions of people around the world. Doctor Who at Mizzou aims to do the same thing for fans in Columbia. People who have any interest in Doctor Who are encouraged to come to the meetings.

“I met at least one of my roommates there and next semester I met my two other roommates through Doctor Who at Mizzou,” Henderson said. “It just gave me a sense of acceptance and friendship. They didn’t care that I obsessed over this British show that no one had heard about. They were like, ‘Yeah, we like it too.’”

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