Although you go to campus to learn, it is also beneficial to get involved in one or more communities on campus. Participating in student organisations and campus events can be a great way to get to know your institution, make friends, build a professional network and have some fun along the way.
Below are some suggestions for meeting new people and expanding your social and educational experiences during your studies at university or college.
Join or Start a Club
Most colleges and universities have numerous student-run campus clubs. These typically include interest-based groups (from cooking to comics) and activity-based groups (hiking or dancing, anyone?). Are you passionate about a specific political or social cause? Colleges and universities campuses have long been important political centres, and sharing your beliefs can be a good way to connect with other students and maybe even change a few minds. Check with your student services centre to learn more about joining existing student organisations or the process to start your own.
Participate in Student Governance
Not only can joining student governance help you meet more people and get involved with important campus matters, it’s great for your resume. You’ll gain leadership skills, make connections with a diverse body of students and be able to demonstrate that you participated in a central decision-making activity. Not only that, but you will also hear about upcoming events on campus that you can get out and attend.
Join the institution Paper
One of the most valuable skills you’ll gain in your institution is writing. No matter your major or your future career, the ability to write will always put you one step ahead of the game. Sharpen these skills by joining the student newspaper. There are likely to be opportunities for article writers, proofreaders (also known as copy editors), researchers, photographers and lead editors.
Become a Tutor or Teaching Assistant
Do you excel in one particular area, such as writing or math? Consider offering your services to your institution’s tutoring centres. Many institutions actually hire students to tutor, or you can work for a volunteer tutoring organisation that will match you with students who need help. This can be a good way to meet people outside of your major while gaining the satisfaction of helping other students. You can also offer your time and services to professors as a teaching assistant or lab coordinator. This can be a great way to build connections with faculty and to stay on top of developments in your field of study.
Get Involved in Intramural Sports
Even if you’re not a varsity-level athlete, many institutions have lots of team sports opportunities for all students. These activities do not involve regular practices, just playing a game you love! Look for a variety of games, such as ultimate Frisbee, archery, hockey, bowling or flag football, or join a regular student pick-up game. This is a great way to meet others with similar interests as well as getting some exercise. Stop by your institution athletic centre or gym to learn more about intramural opportunities. Students who don’t like to play can still get involved in sports by attending team games.
Join a Sorority or Fraternity
Many large colleges and universities offer ‘Greek life,’ or sororities and fraternities. Joining a sorority or fraternity can provide you with immediate access to some of the busiest and most influential social networks on campus. Getting into these organisations can be competitive, but they provide a lifelong network of social support and professional connections. Many Greek organisations also encourage members to get involved in volunteering, philanthropy and a variety of campus-based activities, which are all great additions to your resume!
Community Service and Volunteering
Community service and volunteering can really help broaden your horizons. More and more institutions are integrating volunteering and service learning directly into the curriculum. If you aren’t taking any service learning courses, consider looking for campus-based volunteer organisations that can help you give back to your community alongside your peers. Not only will this provide you with a sense of pride for giving back to your community, but it will provide you with valuable skills.
Attend Campus Events
Many colleges and universities host frequent campus events, including lectures, music, theatre performances, movie screenings, dances and more. These are typically free for students, offer a chance to meet new people.
Get a Job on Campus
Work study and on-campus jobs are an excellent way to meet new people, make new connections and learn more about various college and university services. Usually, work study and on-campus positions are more flexible when it comes to your student life.
Many institutions offer student exchange and study abroad programs that give you the opportunity to study at another college or university. This can expose you to the culture on another campus, or even in another country, and help you make new friends all over the world.