College is more than going to class

Mechanical engineering seniors Israel Ezeodum and Chenai Sukume share a laugh just before getting started on their graduation cap designs at Finals Frenzy on May 4. Photo by Timothy Jones

Whether it’s joining the Student Government Association or writing for The Wichitan, students can get involved in one or more of the 95 registered groups on OrgSync available on campus. The organizations allow students to get involved and interact within the campus to enhance their college experience.

“One of the single most important things a new student on campus can do is get involved, to plug themselves into the university and get engaged,” Keith Lamb, vice president of student affairs and enrollment management, said.  

Associate Vice President and Dean of Students Matthew Park said he believes getting involved with campus organizations is important because it increases the likelihood of success in and out of the classroom.

“Students that are getting involved are becoming greater connected to and engaged within the university community. Because of that engagement and connection, they are graduating faster with higher GPAs. They are also more involved as alumni. After the fact, they report a better quality of experience during their education and report they had a lot more fun while going to school,” Park said.

Mario Ramirez, assistant director of student development and orientation, said he agreeds with Park.

“It’s highly important to get involved. There are tons of studies that show students that are involved are most likely to get a higher GPA and be more successful in college and their career over students who are not involved,” Ramirez said.

Ramirez said the involvement will help students with their future careers and other future endeavors.

We [the office of student development and orientation] highly encourage students to be involved because it brings them out to do something other than laying in their room or watching tv in the room,” Ramirez said. “We promote involvement because not only are you increasing your connections and networking, you are gaining skills as a student leader in your organization. You are exposed to meeting other people from diverse backgrounds. I believe being involved can really help you become a very well-rounded student and individual. In the future, this will definitely help you with your career.”

There are 95 registered organizations for students to pursue their interests, find their passion and develop leadership skills. Twenty of these organizations are academic, as well as three club sports, nine cultural, 16 Greek, one hobby and sport, 16 honorary, five religious and faith-based, 15 special interest, five student governance and five university committees.

Students can choose any group to fit their needs for camaraderie and learning new skills. Though Park said finding their place isn’t always extremely easy.

“Students do have to take a little bit of risk in that they have to put themselves out there. The opportunities are heavily present, but they will not simply fall into someone’s lap. Students have to be willing to explore to experience something different, and probably with people they have never met before. But the idea is this notion of commonality, or shared interest, which can then bring people together,” Park said.

Ramirez recommends curious students to search the website to discover the many opportunities offered on campus and attend events. However if a student has an idea of a new organization not on campus already, they can talk to the office of student development and orientation to start a club of their own.

Students must also realize how much time an organization can take. Joining too many clubs can cause students to be overwhelmed, and their grades can suffer.

Lamb said, “I think students can learn many things from being involved. They learn time management which is really important because you don’t want to overextend yourself. You learn how to pace yourself.”

Each semester students participate in rush week to join one of the 16 fraternities and sororities on campus to find their niche.

Sydney Jongewaard, marketing junior and Gamma Phi Beta president, said, “I was really involved in my high school, so I knew I couldn’t just go to class for college. In fall of 2014, I came here knowing only one person. I joined Gamma Phi Beta, and it gave me a sense of belonging here.”

In addition to the organizations, students can also choose to get involved with the work-study program on campus. Departments around campus such as the Moffett Library employ students for up to 20 hours a week. Students workers can earn money and help pay for college expenses.

Shannon Miles, nursing senior, has worked at Moffett Library for the past three years.

“I really enjoy working at the library. They are flexible and schedule around my class times each semester,” Miles said. “It’s convenient since it’s on campus too.”

For some students, working while earning their degree is optional, while others need a job to pay bills and expenses. The work-study program allows students to make money while still sustaining their grades.

Other students spend their free time competing in one or more of the 18 different recreational sports offered on campus this fall and spring.

Reagan Bates, marketing junior, said he has played on recreational basketball, football and volleyball teams.

“I got into rec sports because a lot of the guys from surrounding towns started a team and asked me to join. It’s always fun to play on the same team with people I competed against in high school,” Bates said. “Plus, I’ve made several new friends while playing.”

The experiences and friendships made outside the classroom, in addition to work in class, can impact students for the rest of their lives.

Miles said, “Being a member of Gamma Phi Beta, working in the library and studying abroad in London, made my college experience memorable. Without these things, I wouldn’t have truly experienced college. There is so much more to college than going to class. It’s the experiences and lessons learned here that will shape the rest of my life.”

By the Numbers

20 | Academic Organizations

 3 | Club Sports

9 | Cultural Organizations

16 | Greek Chapters

1 | Hobby and Sport

16 | Honorary Organization

5 | Religious Organization

15 | Special Interest

5 | Student Governance

5 | University Committees

 

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