Involvement in on campus activities is a great way to meet other students, expand your experience, and learn and grow outside of the classroom. The start of a new school year is exciting, but figuring out where you fit into a huge new campus can be overwhelming and confusing.
When finding activities to be involved with on campus we must know two things: First, what is there to do on campus? And second, how can you discover and join student groups or activities?
- HOUSING: If you are living on campus in a resident’s hall, then that is the best place to start. University housing has events in the dorm regularly. This is a great way to meet your neighbors and learn about activities on campus. Additionally, most dorms have Resident Assistants (RA, or resident advisor) available to help you.
- STUDENT UNION: The student union is usually a building on campus that serves as the center for all student activities. It is a common place for groups to meet and for University sponsored events.
- CLUBS: there are two main categories of clubs on campus-Academic and Social. Academic clubs are centered around a specific area of study. These clubs are especially helpful if you are hoping to find an internship or job while you are studying in the US. Social clubs center around a common area of interest. Typically, these clubs are run by fellow students and are ideal for meeting people who are passionate about the same things as you!
- INTRAMURAL SPORTS: One of the most popular things for American students to get involved in is something called Intramural Sports. These are team sports organized by the university and open to anyone attending the school. This is not just for people who are great athletes, anyone can play, and there are groups just for beginners!
- GYM CLASSES: At your campus gym, or student health center, you will find group exercise classes. This is another excellent way to get exercise while also meeting fellow students
- ONLINE: Universities’ websites have lists of the campus organizations online. Check out the student union or student activities webpage. Additionally, Facebook groups are usually the best place to find current and up to date information about student groups. If your university has an App, this is a great tool to use to find out about campus events.
- RESOURCE FAIR: A resource fair is an on campus promotional event for student activities. Typically, these happen at the beginning of the year. The representatives at these events are there to answer questions and help students learn about the organization, so don’t be afraid to approach them!
- FLYERS: Look at the bulletin boards around campus–in class buildings, dorms, and the student union. This is a popular place for people to post about their groups or events.
- ASK OTHERS: The best way to learn what a group is like is to talk to someone who is involved in that group. As you are meeting people, try to get into the habit of asking them about what they are involved in. A great way to say this is: “Are you a part of any student groups on campus?” University students love what they are involved with and will probably be excited to tell you about their activities.
- TRY ANYTHING ONCE: The best way to become a part of a group is to try to it! It is fine to go to a group or meeting once and then decide it is not something you want to keep doing.
The time spent as a student is valuable and will prepare you for the rest of your life. It is important and helpful to meet people in and outside of your field.
In American culture, there is a priority of being “well-rounded” which means having many diverse and varied experiences and activities. This idea may be unfamiliar to you, and perhaps non-academic activities do not exist at your university back home.However being involved on campus will give you insight into American culture, help you meet your fellow students, feel a part of the university, and may even teach you somethings about yourself.