2.3 Campus Groups

Learning Objectives

  1. Describe several benefits of participating in campus life by participating in organized groups and campus activities.
  2. List ways that you can learn about groups and activities on your own campus.
  3. List ways that you can balance curricular and extra-curricular activities.

The university social experience includes organized campus groups and activities. Participating in organized activities requires taking some initiative; you can’t be passive and expect these opportunities to come knocking on your door.

Benefits

The active pursuit of a stimulating life through organized groups on campus offers many benefits:

  • Organized groups and activities speed your transition into your new life. New students can be overwhelmed by their studies and every aspect of a new life, and they may be slow to build a new life. Rather than waiting for it to come along on its own, you can immediately begin broadening your social contacts and experiences by joining groups that share your interests.
  • Organized groups and activities help you to experience a much greater variety of social life than you might otherwise. New students often tend to interact more with other students their own age and with similar backgrounds—this is just natural. But if you simply go with the flow and don’t actively reach out, you are much less likely to meet and interact with others from the broader campus, such as upper-level students who have much to share from their years on campus.
  • Organized groups and activities help you to gain new skills, whether technical, physical, intellectual, or social. Such skills may find their way into your résumé when you next seek a job or your application for a scholarship or other future educational opportunity. Employers and others like to see well-rounded students with a range of proficiencies and experiences.
  • Organized groups and activities are fun, and a way to stay healthy and relieve stress. Exercise and physical activity are essential for health and well-being, and many organized activities, such as campus recreational sports leagues, offer a good way to keep moving.

Participating in Groups and Activities

University campuses offer a wide range of clubs, organizations, and other activities open to all students. University administrators view this as a significant benefit and work to promote student involvement in such groups. When you made your decision to attend your university, you likely received printed materials or studied the university’s Web site and saw many opportunities. But you may have been so busy attending to academic matters that you haven’t thought of these groups since. It’s a good time now to check out the possibilities:

9.3.0
Figure 2-7: Check bulletin boards on campus to learn about cultural events
Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/denverjeffrey/458846298/ Permission: CC BY-ND 2.0

  • Browse the University of Saskatchewan website, where you’re likely to find links to pages for student clubs and organizations.
  • Watch for club fairs, open houses, and similar activities on campus. Especially near the beginning of the year, an activity fair may include tables set up by many groups to provide students with information. Talk with the representatives from any group in which you may be interested.
  • Look for notices on bulletin boards around campus. Student groups really do want new students to join, so they usually try to post information where you can find it.
  • Stop by the appropriate university office, such as the student affairs or student activities office or cultural center.
  • If you are looking for a group with very specialized interests, check with the academic offices of departments where many students with that interest may be majoring.
  • Consider a wide variety of organizations. Some are primarily social; some are political or activist; some are based on hobbies (photography, chess, equestrianism, bird watching, gaming, programming); some involve the arts (instrumental music, choral singing, painting, improvisational theatre, creative writing); some are forms of physical recreation (rock climbing, ballroom dancing, archery, table tennis, team sports); some focus on volunteerism (tutoring other students, community service projects, food drives); and others are related to academic or intellectual pursuits (nursing club, math club, chess club, engineering club, debate club, student literary magazine). For a full list of available student groups at the University of Saskatchewan, visit the Student Groups page.
  • Consider other forms of involvement and roles beyond clubs. Gain leadership experience by running for office in student government, volunteering to write for the student newspaper, or applying for a residence hall support position.
  • If the University of Saskatchewan doesn’t have a group focused on a particular activity you enjoy yourself, think about starting a new club. Visit the University of Saskatchewan Students’ Union to get started.

Whatever your interests, don’t be shy about checking out a club or organization. Take chances and explore. Attending a meeting or gathering is not a commitment; you’re just going the first time to see what it’s like, and you have no obligation to join. Keep an open mind as you meet and observe other students in the group, especially if you don’t feel at first like you fit in: remember that part of the benefit of the experience is to meet others who are not necessarily just like everyone you already know.

Exercise: Explore Your Interests for University Clubs and Organizations

Write things you may be interested in doing with others in each of these categories.

Clubs Related to Hobbies and Personal Interests Sports, Exercise, Physical Fitness Interests Related to Your Major Area of Study Purely for Fun
 creative writing group hiking political studies — debate gaming

Balancing the Curricular and Extra-Curricular

For all the benefits of an active social and campus life, too much of any good thing can also cause trouble. If you join too many groups, or if you have limited time because of work and family commitments, you may spend less time with your studies—with negative results. Here are some guidelines for finding a good balance between your curricular and extracurricular lives:

  • Don’t join too many organizations or clubs. Most advisors suggest that one or two regular activities are the maximum that most students can handle.
  • Work on your time management skills. Plan ahead for study time when you don’t have schedule conflicts. If you have a rich social life, study in the library or places where you won’t be tempted by additional social interaction with a roommate, family member, or others passing by.
  • Don’t be afraid to say no. You may be active in a club and have plenty of time for routine activities, but someone may ask you to spend extra time organizing an upcoming event just when you have a major paper deadline coming up. Sometimes you have to remember the main reason you’re in university and just say you can’t do it because you have to get your work done.
  • If you really can’t resolve your time conflicts, seek help. Talk with your advisor or a university counselor. They’ll help you get back on track.

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Strategies for Academic Success by University of Saskatchewan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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