I have worked at Clarkson for 10 years, so I’ve gotten to see how Clarkson has evolved over the last decade. One thing that has remained constant over those years is that, when asked about the best part of their Clarkson experience, almost all students tell me the same thing: their on-campus involvement outside of the classroom!
Joining a student organization, playing a club or an intramural sport or working a campus job can be fun and provide memorable experiences for students. Student involvement can be beneficial in other ways, too. During my time spent living on Clarkson’s campus for three years and then working here in the areas of Residence Life, Diversity and Student Life, students often gave me similar reasons for why they enjoyed getting involved on campus.
Feel like you belong.
Joining an organization or team or getting a campus job allows you to meet people with similar interests and gives you a group of friends and a feeling of purpose at Clarkson. Plus, you get the real deal about navigating life at Clarkson from other students. Getting involved also gives you access to people you might not otherwise meet.
For example, I have seen the students in CUB (Clarkson Union Board, the club responsible for providing student entertainment) develop strong friendships and networks through their club involvement, regardless of major or class year. CUB does all of the lights and sound at major campus events (such as Orientation and Family Weekend!) and brings bands, hypnotists, comedians and more to campus for entertainment. Spending all of that time together and working toward a shared goal — creating an awesome event for students to enjoy — brings members closer together and creates strong bonds that can last beyond graduation.
CUB also hosts our annual spring and fall concerts (Springfest and Fallfest). Members can easily spend 18 hours setting up, running and tearing down these events. There is nothing quite as rewarding as putting in all of that hard work as a team and then watching 2,000 people enjoying themselves at a Waka Flocka Flame concert!
Get better grades.
Students who are involved on campus tend to have better grades and are more likely to graduate. Wow, right?
Getting involved gets you out of your room and forces you to be more organized so that you can manage your time well. Just don’t join too many activities, or you’ll get overwhelmed!
Joining a group builds your network; you have access to more people (such as faculty, staff, alumni or other students) who can help you succeed. You may meet students who have already taken your classes and can help you study, or you may connect with an alum in your career field of interest who can help you to tailor your resume for your dream job. You may get to know a faculty member better and establish a relationship that could lead to research opportunities, a TA job or industry connections.
Being part of a team that enjoys your hobbies or interests is also a great way to relieve stress, which can help you better focus on academics when you need to switch gears.
Get real-world experience.
Joining a student organization or an intramural team or working on campus will help build leadership skills and give you real-world experience to prepare you for the workforce. You can learn real-life transactional skills, such as managing a budget, delegating tasks, recruiting members or creating, promoting and evaluating an event. When you are applying for jobs, your GPA only takes up one line of your resume; your experience fills the rest of the page. Student organizations, teams and campus jobs are all great resume builders, and, if you maximize your involvement, you will be able to talk at length about your experience during an interview!
I typically have 10-12 student staff members working for OSL (Office of Student Life), and they often tell me that, during interviews for a co-op, internship or job, they spend 90% of the time talking about the skills they have learned and experiences they have had while working in our office. Interviewers love to ask questions like, “Tell me about a time you had to resolve a last-minute crisis.” or “Tell me about a time you had to lead a group of people who were different from you.” Students who work in my office get plenty of experience dealing with these types of real-world situations. I always invite alums who have worked for me over the past 10 years to come back to Clarkson and talk with our current student staff, increasing their connections — and sometimes even landing them internships or co-ops!
Getting involved on campus helps you to de-stress, have fun and maybe try something new. The best memories you will have from your time at Clarkson will probably not be sitting in class. Your favorite memories will most likely be of the times that you applied that learning to something you find interesting, such as building a concrete canoe with your SPEED team, setting up all the lighting rigs, speakers and stage for a campus concert with CUB or hosting your own radio show on WTSC with a few friends. Students who work for OSL love the time they spend together creating a skit or video for the annual talent show, Clarkson’s Got Talent, and running around campus getting things ready for Family Weekend.
College is supposed to be fun, after all, and Clarkson students know how to work hard and play hard!
To get involved on campus, you can:
Find out about intramurals at clarkson.edu/club-intramural-sports
Look for a campus job on Handshake at clarkson.joinhandshake.com.
Check Knight Life to join a student organization or attend a campus event knightlife.clarkson.edu
Plus, be sure to attend both the Volunteer Fair and Activities Fair at the beginning of every fall semester!