There are dozens of on campus organizations looking for fresh faces to join them. Some fulfill academia desires, others are to increase social awareness, and some simply want to create a social environment for their members. No matter what their purpose, finding a club or organization to get involved with can seem overwhelming and you may not know where to start.
Most campus organizations have what are called general interest meetings or GI’s. These meetings are usually short programs that get conversation going; based around a subject that has something to do with their mission statement, these general interest meetings are meant to attract prospective members to their organization.
You may even see them tabling in your student union, advertising their upcoming programs. Stop by the table and ask a few questions, they may be related to topics you’ve been wanting to learn about. Also be sure to ask for their social media handles so you can keep up with their weekly activities!
With your busy college schedule, you aren’t expected to make it to every organization’s general interest meeting to find out if a club is the right fit for you, but there are other ways to make this decision easier.
After you’ve attended a few consecutive meetings, ask yourself these questions:
1. Are you looking to join a club for academic purposes or social? You may want to get some experience on your resume for future employers to gawk over, or you may just be looking to broaden your social ties around campus. Either way, these are your personal reasons for joining a club and they may change over time, but this is a good place to start weeding out your options.
2. Are you joining only because your friend or roommate is doing so? There’s no problem tagging along with your friend to a few club meetings, but everything she’s interested in may not be your cup of tea. Try venturing out on your own sometimes to club meetings that meet your specific interests; 9 times out of 10, you’ll meet someone there who’s doing the same thing.
3. Are your values and beliefs intact with the organization’s mission statement? Every organization on campus has a purpose. They are looking for members who believe in their mission and are willing to proudly uphold and fulfill it. If you don’t feel comfortable with what this organization is trying to do on campus, you should probably scratch it off your list.
4. Can you see yourself being an active member? Do the discussion topics bring out the conversationalist in you? Do you make it your business to attend every GI or program? Lastly, do you find yourself willingly getting out of bed at 9 a.m. on a Saturday to help with community service? If you answered yes to these questions, you may have found yourself a niche on campus.
5. Do you see yourself growing with this organization? Being an active member is a great place to start, but remember, members of the executive board have started where you are now. They were once active members who were passionate about what the organization had to offer. Through hard work, they were recognized as someone who could carry on the mission of that organization and chosen to do so. If you can envision yourself as president, treasurer or community outreach, be sure to make yourself known by the current executive board and be sure to show your interest in becoming part of it for the following academic year.
Joining clubs and organizations on campus is part of a well-rounded experience. Of course your academics should be your main priority, but try to set time aside to be active on campus and meet new people. Some of the new faces you meet will become lifelong friends if you take the first step out of your comfort zone.