Happy Sunday everyone!
As many of you know, I am in my second year here at the University of Minnesota and I have taken this semester as an opportunity to get more involved on my campus and in my community. I currently hold leadership positions in 3 on campus groups, Minnesota Dance Marathon, Spanish and Portuguese Across Cultures Organization (SPACO) and Minnesota Public Interest Research Group (MPIRG).
I think for many first year students, it can be hard to find time to squeeze in participation in clubs or groups like these on campus. However, these experiences are so important not just for giving you valuable volunteering or learning experiences but also as a way to connect to your campus community and fellow peers.
Although my student groups are keeping me VERY busy this semester along with my full 17 credit course load, I am thankful and happy to have the opportunity to participate in them.
So without further ado, here are my few tips for getting more involved on your campus:
- Research potential groups or organizations to join. This may sound simple and self explanatory but for large universities like the U of M, there are hundreds of groups to choose from. For students who are attending the U, Student Union and Activities has a tab dedicated to student groups on campus. You can simply search areas of interest and the database will pull up matches for you.
- Know what you are passionate about. It helps to have an idea of what areas you would like to get more involved in. For me, I am very focused on activism work and promoting social justice and acceptance.
- Look into clubs or groups offered through your major/minor departments. I am in the student group SPACO, which is a club run through the Spanish and Portuguese department here at the U (I am a Spanish Studies major). This group allows me not only to improve skills within one of the my areas of studies but it helps me connect with other students and department faculty.
- See if your school has a Community Engaged Learning program: Last year I participated in my first service learning experience through volunteering at a middle school while taking a class that corresponded with my volunteer work. This year, I also am taking a service learning class and have been working with MPIRG on various issues such as Get Out The Vote efforts and on campus composting.
- Reach out to the group leader or attend a meeting. Yes the first time meeting people can always be a little awkward or uncomfortable, but hey this is college! It is good to get out of your comfort zone every now and then.
- Have fun! Life is too short to not enjoy the things that you partake in. Try something new and see how it goes, but always remember to keep a positive attitude about it.
Well those are my main tips for now, I am hoping to do a few separate blog posts at some point about my service learning experiences. Thank you for reading friends.
Worry less and smile more.