The controlling element of college life is running to classes and jam-packed weekends of intense study sessions, but entwined in the chaos are those precious moments of down time where the real essence of the college experience comes into play â€” your social life.
For many, underclassmen in particular, this social aspect may be the most difficult and thatâ€™s where student clubs and organizations fit in.
With over 200 recognized clubs on campus, odds are there is something that sparks your interest. If not, itâ€™s possible to create a new club.
The first step to starting a new club is collecting signatures and ID numbers from 15 other fully enrolled undergraduate students who want to join the club. Then, to be recognized as a club, the organization must elect a president, vice president and treasurer, as well as find a faculty adviser.
Sarina IÃ±iguez-De La Rosa, president of the new Chicano Latin American Studies Club, said finding an adviser was the hardest of these tasks.
â€œThe process of becoming a club was made clear and simple, but it was a struggle to get advisers from the Chicano Latin American Studies Department to get on board,â€ De La Rosa said. â€œThey have their own agenda, which is set aside from the student agenda.â€
Starting a club also requires a lot of time and commitment.
According to Josh Edrington, Student Activities and Leadership Development adviser, once an idea for a club is presented, the club is granted temporary club status for thirty days. During this time, the club needs to recruit the 15 members, find an adviser and decide who the representatives are. They read and sign paperwork regarding conduct codes, and write a constitution stating the clubâ€™s name, purpose, criteria for membership, meeting times and several other details.
â€œWe put in an average of three to four hours a week to continue the work of the organization, and we have weekly meetings.â€ De La Rosa said.
With so much time dedicated to organizing and maintaining a club, there must be tremendous benefits.
â€œOne benefit is that clubs can receive funding for special events on campus,â€ Edrington said, â€œand there are no set amounts per club, plus clubs can also seek extra funds from ASI [Associated Students, Inc.].â€
Another benefit is watching a club grow and develop friendships with those who have similar interests.
â€œWe hope to see a huge change in the spring semester, and bring some new events to campus,â€ said De La Rosa.
Students in clubs also have the opportunity to get their own booth in the Free Speech Area.
There are 22 booths available and a lottery is held at the end of the semester to see which clubs get to have a booth to decorate. The rest of the clubs are put on a waiting list in case thereâ€™s an unexpected opening, Edrington said.
The booths are a great way for members to voice their concerns and make them known.
So if you find yourself with some extra time on your hands, consider joining a club, or at least talking to one of the members donating their time at a booth or table near the University Student Union. You may even want to walk up to the Student Activities office and speak to Edrington about starting a new one.
After all, Edrington said, â€œWorking with students is what we are here for, and work is easier when you enjoy what youâ€™re doing every day.â€
That same statement applies to students wanting to enjoy college life. So get out there and have fun. Get involved.