College Corner: Interview with Jacob Winkler ’07 of SM(UT)

Swatties are known for their propensity to pack their schedules (and then add some more activities) while leaving no time for relaxation. Working under the iron fist of Managing Editor Greg Leiserson, we at the Gazette are no strangers to stress. So the recent rise of the curiously-named massage-giving club piqued our interest. Wanting to learn more about the club, I accosted co-founder Jacob Winkler after his afternoon aikido class.

Daily Gazette: OK, so what exactly is the proper name of the Swarthmore massage club? Is it really SMUT?
Jacob Winkler: It’s SM(UT). If we get chartered and get some funding, we might change it to something more…civil.

DG: Why did you decide to start a massage club?
JW: Me and John (co-founder Egan ’06) both like giving massages and want to improve our technique. Neither of us have the time or the money to take a class, though, so we hope that by getting people together and watching what they do, we can all learn new techniques.

DG: So what is your past experience with massage?
JW: I’ve just always been interested in making people feel better. I haven’t had any formal training and it doesn’t run in my family like it does for John. You can use massage in all sorts of situations. When I had a girlfriend, I gave them to her, and I give them to family members to help them relax.

DG: What sort of benefits does massage bring to a person?
JW: All sorts of things…the stress we experience throughout our lives builds up into tense muscles. Massage helps us to release this tension and is a great way to get rid of daily stress. It improves blood circulation, helps us to have better posture, and gives emotional relief. It really has far-reaching implications on the overall health of your body.

DG: It kind of sounds like aikido in terms of the benefits it gives.
JW: Yes, definitely.

DG: So does massage have an origin in far eastern culture?
JW: Not really. Massage has been present in all cultures. Although in our culture, physical touch is not emphasized as much as it is in other parts of the world.

DG: What are your long-term plans for the club?
JW: Get a core group of people who are interested in giving massages on a regular basis. This will help us have confidence in each other and really improve. Once we get good enough, we hope to offer massages to students, probably for a fee.

DG: What should interested people do to get involved?
JW: Come to Bond on Thursdays at 10:00 p.m. Be ready to give and receive massages, so wear comfortable clothing and bring a towel.


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