May 13, 2013
Classes may be the main motivation for students to visit campus, but UCCS also offers extracurricular activities to attract and involve students in campus life.
Current research, such as a study by Jing Wang, director of institutional research at Sacramento State, demonstrates campus engagement contributes to academic success and high graduation rates.
School officials believe clubs and organizations can make students more likely to graduate.
“It’s really handy to be looking for the clubs that are active during orientation,” said Sabrina Wienholtz, student activities specialist for Student Life and Leadership. She added that orientation will run all summer and will have different clubs at each session.
Wienholtz said the Student Life and Leadership Office provides a club list to new students. She said it gives them an idea of what’s on campus and what connections they could be looking for.
Additionally, the office hosts a club fair in August or early September that includes clubs and organizations looking for members.
“It only takes two students to start a club, which is exciting, so if there are, say, two students that find each other at orientation or maybe preview days and they know they have a common interest, they can come into the office and go through a process where they start their own student club, which is kind of cool,” she said.
Wienholtz said that the process will be changing. “It’s been a paper process forever, and we are currently looking at implementing an online portal system.”
She said that the office is in the preliminary phases of putting that together and by August, students will be able to create profiles in the OrgSync system, be able to reach out to organizations and create organizations.
“It interfaces very much like Facebook,” Wienholtz said, adding that OrgSync has website options, calendaring options and event creation.
“I think one of the great things about being a student club is it’s really predicated on the interests of the students – whatever the students are interested in, they can bring here,” she said.
“I think we have lots and lots of diversity in the kinds of organizations we have and it varies by year,” she added.
Cynthia Barram, president of the All Access Club (formerly Disability Awareness Club), said that she would welcome any freshmen with disabilities, but she’d prefer not to have people join to learn about disabilities – a special class is offered for students seeking to learn more.
“The only way to get to know someone with a disability is to get to know somebody with a disability. How do you get to know somebody with glasses?” she said.
“We don’t have a rulebook. None of us do,” she added. For instance, for Barram, kneeling down to be at her level is wrong.
“I think that’s the most offensive thing ever. You have to get to know the person, not the machine,” she said, in reference to her wheelchair. “For me, these are intimate things.”
“One of the greatest things about student clubs and organizations is it’s tailored to your interests specifically, so you get to build something, you get to learn a lot about leadership and a lot about taking a project from beginning to fruition,” Wienholtz said.
“It’s a great opportunity to both get involved and it makes your college experience and to practice a lot of the skills that you learn about theoretically in the classroom. This is a great place to apply those skills,” she added.
Dave Hardee is one president of a club, the Game Developers Association, seeking members. He said the club is in need of a secretary and treasurer and anyone interested can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“They should join if they are interested in what it takes to make video games,” he said through an email.
Additionally, the Random Acts of Kindness Club mentioned it is always looking for new members. “It’s really easy to join; all you have to do is like our Facebook page (facebook.com/rakuccs) and start being kind,” said Matthew Driftmier, RAK chairman, in an email.
“We encourage our members to do random acts of kindness in their everyday lives, whether that’s holding the door open for someone, talking to someone new in class or even buying coffee for the person behind you in line,” he said.
Wienholtz said that she thinks students should make a point to attend some activities, either with people they live with or with somebody they connected with at orientation or in housing.
“Getting to some of those events is a great way to get involved and meet people,” she said.
She also recommended stopping by the Student Life and Leadership Office. “This is a great place to do your homework, have your lunch, kinda be in a place where there’s a lot of activity and a lot of people to meet with, a lot of different interests,” she said.
Another way to become involved is through Student Employment. Students that wish to find jobs can log in to SEAN’s Place (seans.uccs.edu) to look for a job either on or off campus.
“They can look for jobs by looking at bulletin boards and seeing what’s on campus. We have many positions listed on SEAN’s Place,” said Shreya Raj of Student Employment.