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- In its literal form, soap is also an important part of the 6-2-1 rule.
S.O.A.P stands for the Society Of Anthropomorphics, a furry community and Registered Student Organization (RSO) at Virginia Tech. It is rather unique among furry groups due to its registration with a major university, which allows SOAP to use university meeting and online spaces for free, and offers advantages to networking.
Soap was founded by Nius, Pathia, Tango, and other furry fans at Virginia Tech who desired a separate, distinct organization for planning events specific to the furry community. The organization was officially registered with the university on Wednesday, October 10, 2001.
As a Registered Student Organization of Virginia Tech, membership is unrestricted— anyone may join including students, faculty, staff, and members of the general public. No official membership count exists but as of February 2010 there were 75 members on the SOAP mailing list and the average Friday meeting has about 20 attendees. SOAP also has a significant number of active nonfurry members, which members have affectionately dubbed "Furry Satellites."
Leadership positions in the organization are defined by the requirements set forth in the University Policies for Student Life. A president, vice-president, and treasurer are chosen every fall semester. Additionally, the organization may choose a Faculty/Staff adviser who will act on behalf of the organization within the university.
SOAP tends to be a very close-knit group, and more of its activities tend to be spontaneous and/or informal as opposed to the planned meets of other groups. It's also not uncommon for out of town furries to join in on some of the larger SOAP community gatherings.
SOAP occasionally delves into fundraising and community outreach for animal or Blacksburg-related causes, and usually participates in both Gobblerfest and Winterfest, community intra-campus relations "festivals" held by the University.
Weekly meetings are held every Friday evening when classes are in session, unless deferred due to other local commitments, in Squires Student Center on the VT campus. Meetings are free-form and open to the public. Meeting room announcements or changes to the meeting schedule are posted on the mailing list (link below). Traditionally, a more casual social gathering follows the weekly SOAP meeting, although the host may vary. Other activities such as bowling, laser tag, group hikes to locales such as the cascades, and potlucks are also organized throughout the school year. The organization itself is generally inactive during the summer, although there is still an active furry community consisting of SOAP members remaining in the area during this time.
During the 2011-2012 School Year, SoAP meetings are held on Fridays at 7:00 PM in Squires Student Center on the Virginia Tech Campus. The room may vary from week to week, so if one wishes to attend on the fly, it is sometimes necessary to check the UUSA listings in the building itself.
In the past, events have been planned in conjunction with other local fan groups, including VTSFFC - The Science Fiction and Fantasy Club at Virginia Tech, VTAS - The Animation Society of Virginia Tech, and Spiel - a campus gaming club (Spiel is the German word for "game"). In recent years, these organizations have grown more separate. Members of Soap have also served as staff of Technicon and Rising Star, two local Science Fiction Conventions that have been extremely welcoming of furry fans. SOAP members also host many informal social gatherings and parties, often arranged on-the-fly through the SOAP mailing list or through mass text messages.
In 2008, SOAP worked on a community service project called "Smiles for the Memories." The purpose of this project was to raise money for Operation Smile in honor of the 32 victims of the Virginia Tech Massacre.
In 2010, SOAP participated in the The Elephant Sanctuary's "Feed an Elephant for a Day" project. Through member-contributed funds, SOAP fed Billie the Elephant for a day.
SOAP members often carpool to and/or room together at conventions. The major conventions at which SOAP generally has a large presence are Midwest Furfest, Furry Weekend Atlanta, Furry Connection North and Anthrocon.
SOAP has an active IRC channel with open membership on FurNet: #VTSOAP.