Despite being new, the club has gained popularity fast.
As the world moves towards electric vehicles, car enthusiasts are doing everything in their power to maintain a community around combustion engine vehicles. A group of UNLV students have created a club to allow enthusiasts to do just that.
One of the newest clubs on campus, UNLV Car Club brings college students together over a shared passion for cars. The club provides an inclusive environment for all car enthusiasts, regardless of what car they drive. They plan and host meets with other car clubs around the city. The meets include hundreds of cars from members of UNLV Car Club, Team Tekito and Dynamic Evolution Auto Club. The club partners with businesses like Back to the 80s Cafe and Chewy Boba. These partnerships allow the club to host meets in a safe and permitted area, while driving customers to the business.
“My favorite thing about the club are the people. Everyone is always welcoming, respectful and fun to talk to and hang out with,” said Dylan Santos, a UNLV Car Club Member, “Most have the same interest in cars and with that, it makes car enthusiasts want to join and come to more car meets in the future.” Despite being a car club, the club focuses on bringing people together. Founded during the 2021-2022 school year, UNLV Car Club allowed students to meet in person for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID-19 forced car enthusiasts to stay at home, not able to enjoy driving their own cars, admiring others cars, and meeting new like-minded individuals. The club also aims to provide an inclusive environment for those that attend their meets or join the club.
“I felt very included as I was able to meet UNLV students and talk to them about hobbies,” said AJ Tadlock, a College of Southern Nevada student and car enthusiast. “We both enjoyed things such as cars or photography.”
People from anywhere are welcome to attend the meets, regardless of if they are a UNLV student or not. The club does organize meets closer to the UNLV campus, with locations including Chewy Boba and Back to the 80s Cafe near Greenspun Hall, and James Regional Sports Park. These locations provide attendees with space to park their cars, walk around, and purchase food and drinks, all within a safe environment.
“Any car is welcome and members already have a variety of different cars from different regions,” Santos said, “Again, we are all in college so no car needs to be expensive in order to join, as whatever you drive makes you happy is all that matters.”
The club’s most recent meet was a joint event with Team Tekito and Dynamic Evolution Auto Club, which attracted many different makes and models of cars. The parking lot of Back to the 80s Cafe was filled with cars from a Mazda MX-5, to an Audi RS5 and S3, and a Honda S2000. Bringing together other car clubs around the Las Vegas valley has allowed the club to expand on the inclusivity and diversity of not only the cars, but the meet attendees as well.
“It’s a car club, no one is shunned for who they are and what they drive,” Santos said. “Everyone in the club comes from different backgrounds and every member drives something unique to who they are.”
There are some inherent safety concerns surrounding the car community. Street takeovers and racing have become popular across the United States. The club discourages all members and people that attend the meets from participating in these events, and does not tolerate any behaviors associated with them. These street takeover and racing events are a danger to the public, which has caused the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department to create a task force to combat the issue. This ties in with safety as a UNLV club as well, after the death of a student during a boxing event. The boxing event prompted UNLV to bring in an outside firm to conduct an independent review of all Registered Student Organizations. The club does not allow revving, burnouts, donuts, or any other activities that are illegal or unsafe for everyone at the meets. Despite being strict on these activities, the club still aims to be welcoming to all kinds of people.
“I think the club is a very neat organization with lots of potential,” Tadlock said. “I am very surprised at the amount of people within who are very welcoming and friendly to everyone.”
Potential is something the club prides itself on and continues to take advantage of. The club continues to partner with restaurants to host meets. The partnership mutually benefits both the club and the restaurant, bringing business and allowing the club to host their meet in a safe, controlled environment. Their last meet, hosted at Back to the 80s Cafe, drew in members from the Team Tekito and Dynamic Evolution Cars clubs to the restaurant, as well as the meet with the UNLV Car Club members.
Meeting members of other clubs allows for UNLV Car Club to become more involved in the car community in Las Vegas. The ability to meet other car club members allows for attendees to network with people around the valley in the world of cars. It also allows these same people to connect with other like minded individuals around the Las Vegas area.
“The best thing I’ve experienced while being a member is meeting other car clubs and getting along with them as we familiarize ourselves with the Las Vegas car community,” Santos said. “The more faces that recognize what we drive, the more events that we get invited to which creates better experiences.”
UNLV Car Club hosts anyone in Las Vegas. The diversity of cars and people at the meets creates an environment where anyone can feel welcomed and included. The club is always looking for more members, and more people in general to come to their meets. They post updates on their Instagram at @unlvcarclub.