Undergraduate Programs

Top 10 Things to Do as a First-Year Clarkson Student

One of the biggest questions we get from students interested in coming to Clarkson is, “What is there to do there?” We’re not in a big city (although we’ve got some really cool Canadian ones nearby — get your passport ready!), but there’s still LOTS to do here. So we’re counting down the top 10 things we think you should do as a first-year student.

10. Attend a hockey game Hockey games are very popular at Clarkson. It helps that both of our Division I teams are REALLY good right now (Women’s National Champs!!!!).

Hockey players from Clarkson University and St. Lawrence University battle in front of Clarkson's net.
There’s always extra fun and excitement when we play our rival St. Lawrence!

The games are always exciting, and it’s a great way to hang out with friends and meet new ones. The games are also a perfect place to take the family when visiting to show off all the Golden Knight pride. Games tend to last around three hours and are full of exciting cheers and great plays from the team. There is no better way to show your support for Clarkson than joining the crowd in fun cheers led by the [in]famous Clarkson Pep Band. An even better perk for students is that every game is free just by showing your student ID.

9. Join a club or Greek life
Joining a club or Greek life on campus is a great way to meet new people with the same interests as you. Clarkson is full of clubs of all different sorts, from the hugely popular Outing Club to the Golden Knotes a capella group, and more clubs are being added every semester.

Dozens of students pose in the Student Center on Tony Tuesday.
Each year, clubs and organizations participate in “Tony Tuesday” in honor of President Tony Collins and cash prizes are given out from President Collins to some of the groups!

This is a great resume builder and an excellent way to explore activities you may have never thought you would enjoy. The University holds an activities fair every fall semester that allows students to show off all the different activities that Clarkson has to offer. Head over to clarkson.edu/social or knightlife.clarkson.edu to learn more about all the current clubs. Can’t find a club you’re interested in? Start your own!

8. Go skiing or snowboarding
The North Country is not only popular for skiing and snowboarding, but is also filled with great ski resorts. Looking for something close by? Head over to Titus Mountain, which is only about a 45-minute drive from campus. You can also spend the day at Whiteface Mountain, which has around 80 different trails and is very popular among Clarkson students. If you are into skiing, be sure to join the Clarkson Ski and Snowboard Club for season passes and better transportation to the mountains. For more on skiing and snowboarding, check out Kevin’s blog post about the best skiing and snowboarding spots around us.

7. Attend a CUB event (or two)
Clarkson is filled with great events to attend throughout the week and on the weekends. Some of the most popular events on campus are hosted by the Clarkson Union Board (CUB), which puts on multiple entertainment events on campus to get us all out of our residence halls. These events include just-released movies shown in the Student Center, comedy shows and the popular FallFest and SpringFest, which involve a concert from a well-known band or artist. This year’s SpringFest artist was Waka Flocka Flame! Attending a CUB event is a great way to get out and take a break from the stress of school, as well as meet new people.

6. Go to a career fair (and/or the Career Center)
One of the many perks of attending Clarkson is the devotion of the University faculty and staff to helping students get jobs, internship and co-ops. With the Career Center located right in the center of campus, getting help creating a resume or cover letter or  finding a job, internship or co-op is easier than ever. The incredible staff members are available full-time during school hours in order to help and make sure that every student is set for the real world after graduation.

A student in professional attire speaks with a potential employer across a table at Career Fair.
Students and companies participate in the annual Career Fair on campus,

Not only does the Career Center help individual students, but it also hosts a massive career fair in both the fall and spring semesters. The event is open to all students and attracts around 190 top companies like Amazon, Target, Estée Lauder and Lockheed Martin. This event is perfect for any college student and is sure to pay off when it comes to searching for jobs after graduation. It’s never too early to start looking and planning!

5. Join a sports team (club or intramural)
If you are someone who loves sports but does not have the time to commit to a college Division I or III team, then joining a club sports team is the perfect move for you. By being on one of our 30+ club sport teams, you can stay in shape without having to put in the huge time commitment. It’s also a great way to meet new people who have the same sports interests as you. If you are still not fully committed to the time involved with a club sport, there are always intramural sports teams, which are much more relaxed and tend to just be quick pick-up games, such as soccer or basketball scrimmages. There are nine different intramural sports and three annual intramural sports tournaments.

4. Go to the gym
Everyone knows that college can be very stressful and can also cause some students to gain weight quickly. A great way to deal with both of these issues is to spend some time at the gym. Not only does Clarkson’s gym have a pool, weight room, cardio equipment and track, but there are fitness classes you can join. Classes are available to all students and occur throughout the day. With great hours and multiple options, there is no reason to not go to the gym. An added plus — working out helps to keep you productive and therefore will help you speed through your workload. You can also borrow sports equipment for sports like badminton, racquetball and basketball.

3. Join a SPEED team
The SPEED (Student Projects for Engineering Experience and Design) teams are basically like being on an athletics team at Clarkson, but with engineering, science and technology. We’ve got 14 teams that meet throughout the year and participate at national competitions.

A student works on a model plane on a wooden table.
You can join one of the SPEED teams like Design, Build, Fly.

You can drive a Formula SAE car; make a canoe out of concrete; design, build and fly an aircraft; work on engineering solutions for developing countries; and more. These teams are an awesome way to practice the stuff you’re learning in class. They’re great for resume building, networking and hands-on experience. You can read more here about what it’s like to be on a SPEED team in Joesph’s blog post.

2. Eat pizza
Potsdam is the perfect place for those who are massive pizza lovers. With at least a handful of local pizza places available in town, like Little Italy, Sergi’s and Jessie’s, pizza cravings never have to be a problem again.

Potsdam has some of the best pizza

There is even an option for gluten-free pizza at 3 Bears Bakery. The even better part to this is that all of these pizza places accept KnightCard (it’s like a debit card just for Clarkson). So if you are bored one night or just want a yummy late-night snack, then be sure to grab a slice from one of the many pizza shops around town.

1. Go to the Student Success Center
Toto, we’re not in high school anymore. These classes can be HARD. Plus, studying and staying up-to-date with your work is much easier said than done with distractions everywhere and friends always wanting to do everything besides study. Not to mention, there is no one to hold your hand and force you to do your work. But, we are really good about asking for help here, and it is happily given. Faculty are excellent resources, but on top of that, Clarkson also provides students with the Student Success Center (SSC), which offers tutoring, accommodative services and student support services for all grad and undergrad students. The staff members are there for you, whether you’re struggling with a certain class or you have a specific academic goal you’re striving toward. They host one-on-one tutoring, group tutoring and other services. The SSC is located right near the library and is open to everyone.

Okay, so there is our top 10. Pretty easy, right? Trust me, if you do even some of these things, it will keep you busy. Don’t make some of the same mistakes I did and wait until junior or senior year to get involved in these Clarkson experiences and events!

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