Smoking a cigar with a good group of friends can be one of the most relaxing things a person can do. Little do people know, there is a cigar club at Cal State Fullerton that can not only bring people together, but can also introduce students to the culture, history and a network of cigar smokers.
Real cigar experts come in and talk to members of CSUF’s Cigar Club regarding the culture of cigars and how it affects the business and social world through experiences and seminars. These experiences and seminars are a huge factor with the Cigar Club.
“At each of our events, we have a real cigar aficionado who has been smoking cigars for years, even decades, such as Gilbert Becerras, a financial detective who has spoken at two out of four of our events,” said Calvin Nyo, a business administration and legal studies major and president and founder of the Cigar Club. “Our speakers use a casual dialogue to move from topic to topic about cigars — whether it be manufacturing to how to get a perfect draw of smoke. We also have a chairman of cigar education, currently held by Brian Burgess, who creates meaningful diagrams to help members understand different cigar shapes, sizes and colors.”
Burgess joined the club to make sure all members have the right tools and knowledge of cigars.
Faculty adviser Daryle Nagano-Krier is involved with the club so it stays within the University Guidelines.
“Calvin informed me that the purpose of the club wasn’t to just sit around and smoke cigars, but rather, to educate students about the history, types of cigars and proper ways to smoke cigars. Anytime education is involved and students can have fun and learn at the same time, I am for it,” said Nagano-Krier.
The Cigar Club isn’t your typical club that meets on campus, it’s a subculture — the club is about teaching their members about networking in the real world.
“The best part of Cigar Club is the growing support and networking potential. Networking with older individuals (who) are always really supportive and watching students learn about something they’re interested and passionate about, makes the stress worth it, said Nyo, “If you want to impress a potential future employer, learn how to smoke a cigar and invite him out. Plain and simple.”
Networking is what the club likes to promote — the ability to carry conversations on with important people.
“I like to teach anything that involves lingo. There’s not much that makes you sound more impressive than understanding and using industry jargon,” said Burgress.
Everyone in the group agrees that there are many great aspects to the club.
“The club is about giving the opportunity for students to learn and enjoy cigars because it is an expensive hobby. The experience you get from Cigar Club is invaluable because you can’t learn this stuff on your own without someone teaching you. It’s completely unique with its own subculture,” said Nyo.
The one advantage to having a club on campus is that it helps a person in their professional life as well.
“A cigar club on campus can be great for people. More than once, I have unleashed my cigar knowledge and fascination and have had potential employers more interested in what I have to say because I can hold a legitimate conversation that they’re interested in. By educating students about cigars, it not only allows people to learn about something they’re interested in, but also provides opportunity for students to learn the jargon that they can, and very well may, use. Having this information really can help in employment,” Burgess said.
Where does the Cigar Club meet? Not on campus.
“Cigar Club really can’t do much (on) CSUF due to the (proposed) mandate that (would prohibit) smoking on campus … We do not seek fundraising opportunities on campus as (it would) be frowned upon by the ASI legislative body,” said Nyo.
As of now, the club meets at McClain’s Coffee House in Fullerton to house their cigar meetings because it accommodates many people of all ages with a relaxed setting.
“We meet on Thursday nights at 8 p.m. We start off by casually (waiting) for people to show up, then kick-start the meeting with our guest speaker followed by cigar smoking. By the end of the night, everyone is friends with each other and having a blast,”said Nyo.
Nyo is currently a member of the cigar lounge 8Eightyeight in downtown Fullerton. Unfortunately, due to age restrictions, the group can’t meet at an actual cigar club.
“But a deal is currently being negotiated with Islands Cigar Lounge in Brea. They will allow us to hold our meetings there and get cigars at discount,” said Nyo
The club even has Nagano-Krier interested in the different aspects of the cigar business.
“I have attended two meetings and have learned so much about the cigar industry from a business perspective. The members are interested in that aspect and have learned that smoking cigars is truly an art,” he said.