Your campus may be small or large or anything in between, but you are likely presented with an impressive array of student activities that are available for your enrichment and enjoyment. Your biggest challenge may be deciding how much extra time you have for campus and student life after fulfilling studying. Being involved in the campus community is vital to every student. It’s vital to the college, too.
Whether your campus is small, tall, grande, or venti, you are probably amazed by the array of institutionally supported student activities available for your enrichment and enjoyment. Perhaps your biggest challenge is deciding how much extra time you have after studying and which added activities yield the greatest reward.
Below are two videos that give a sample of campus life at two different types of colleges. The first is from a large state institution – the University of Maryland. The second is from a smaller, private college – Baldwin Wallace University.
Regardless, though, of where your institution fits on the spectrum of size, or how many activities, clubs, and organizations your institution offers, it is important for you to be able to explore co-curricular interests – for learning, enjoyment, and personal satisfaction. Student life should always be satisfying and rewarding to students, as well as to alumni, faculty, staff, and community members. Together, these groups are an institution’s lifeblood.
University of Maryland
Colleges have an abundance of student organizations. Some examples you may be familiar with are the Hillel Student Organization for enriching the lives of Jewish students, the Chess Club, and Model United Nations. Larger institutions may have hundreds of such organizations.
Generally, an organization is created and run by current students, and it’s sponsored by an executive officer, dean, or director of a major academic or operational unit. An organization must also have a mission that’s consistent with the mission of the college and sponsor. It might also collect dues from members, but in many cases, membership is free.To link up with a student organization, you may not need to do much more than take stock of your interests. What do you love to do? In a later section, you will find a list of ways to learn about student organizations at your institution. If you find that your college doesn’t have an organization that speaks to your particular interests, you might consider starting one.
Fraternities and sororities are social organizations at colleges and universities. The terms “Greek letter organization” (“GLO”) and “Greek life” are often used to describe fraternities and sororities. Generally, you obtain membership while you are an undergraduate, but your membership continues for life. Most Greek organizations have five shared elements: secrecy, single-sex membership, rushing and pledging to select new members, occupancy in a shared residence, and identification with Greek letters. Fraternities and sororities also engage in philanthropic activities, and they often host parties and other events that may be popular across campus.
Diversity and multiculturalism are indeed critical pursuits not just on college campuses but in communities, businesses, and organizations around the world. If you are interested in expanding and promoting awareness of this issues on campus and further afield, you can seek opportunities at your college for starters. You will likely find informal gatherings, presentations, campus-wide events, individual students and classes focused on creating diverse, multicultural, and inclusive communities.
Most colleges have many opportunities for you to learn about and prepare for civic engagement and leadership on campus and in the wider community. What is civic engagement? It’s your involvement in protecting and promoting a diverse and democratic society—and clearly, leadership is an important part of this. Student organizations and activities related to these pursuits may be student government associations, leadership courses and retreats, social change projects, service opportunities, social innovation initiatives, and many others.
If you are like many new college students, you probably already have experience volunteering. It may have been part of your high school requirements. Or perhaps you engaged in volunteering as part of a faith organization or as part of a community fundraising effort. Any of your volunteering can continue in college, too, as your institution will have many special and meaningful ways to stay involved, work on social problems, and contribute to a better world. Service and volunteer efforts may include philanthropy, activism, social entrepreneurship, advocacy, and direct service.
On any college campus, satellite center, or virtual space, students may be involved in activities around the clock on any given day. These activities may include student organization activities as well as special presentations, meetings, performing arts events, sporting events, intramurals, recreational activities, local community activities, holiday events, commemorative events, and so on.
You are heartily encouraged to pursue any interests that enhance your education and enrich your student experience. Your participation can expand your horizons, deepen your interests, and connect you with new people.
It can seem overwhelming to learn about all the activities, events, clubs, organizations, athletics, performing arts, etc. on campus. Sometimes you may need to dig a little, too. The following resources are a good place to start:
How is it that becoming fully involved in student life can have such a positive impact on student satisfaction and academic success?
The National Survey of Student Engagement – a survey measuring student involvement in academic and co-curricular activities—shows that student success is directly linked to student involvement in the institution. In fact, survey results show that the higher the level of student involvement is, the higher student grades are and the more likely students are to reenroll the next semester. All of this seems to translate to satisfaction. The following lists some of the many benefits and rewards that result from active participation in campus and student life.
All in all, being involved in the campus community is vital to every student, and it is vital to the college, too. It is a symbiotic relationship that serves everyone well.
The key to getting the most out of college is to take advantage of as many facets of student life as possible while still keeping up with your academic commitments. That is pretty obvious, right? What may be less obvious is that focusing exclusively on your academic work and not getting involved in any of the rich and diverse co-curricular activities on campus can come at a real price and even hamper your success.
Answer the question(s) below to see how well you understand the topics covered in the section. This short quiz does not count toward your grade, and you can retake it an unlimited number of times.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License. (For video licensing information, refer to each video's YouTube page.)