Club & Greek

The Importance of Getting Involved

Importance of InvolvementThe annual Involvement Fair took place on Shadow Lawn, last Friday, Sept. 14. With nearly 100 clubs and organizations set up in front of Wilson Hall, the event provided students with the opportunity to get involved, reach out to new people who share similar interests, and to find their niche on campus.

“We usually have approximately 100 clubs and organizations take this opportunity to promote themselves to the students,” said Amy Bellina, Director of Student Activities and Student Center Operations.  “It is an easy way for students to learn about the opportunities that are available to them.”

Bellina stressesd the importance of becoming active on campus by utilizing the many student-run clubs and organizations at the University. “Being involved in clubs, organizations, and various activities gives students a chance to meet other students, feel more a part of the Monmouth community, build resume experience, develop relationships with people that may be mentors for them, learn more about a particular area of study, try something new, and to have fun,” she said.

Alexis Borrino, a junior education student said, “The fair basically has a club for every major, so not only do I become close with the people in my education classes but through education-based clubs as well. Whether attending the fair or being a recruiter behind the table, I feel like it is definitely a great way to bring the campus together.”

Although it is important for all students to get involved in extracurricular activities, the Involvement Fair provides particular significance for freshmen and new transfer students, members of the University’s community who may not be immediately exposed or familiar with all there is to offer on campus.

“With the people who were advocating for their club/organization, it made it easy to decide and get a visual representation of what the club was about and whether or not you would enjoy being a part of that activity,” said Kayla Cubillos, a freshman communications student, about her time at the Involvement Fair.  Cubillos found a lot of clubs she didn’t know we offered.

In order to encourage new students to become excited about being active members of the Monmouth community, the Offices of Transition & Leadership Programs and Student Activities collaborate every year to hold Welcome Week and the Service & Leadership, Hawk Pride, Academics, Diversity, Organizations & Involvement, Wellness (S.H.A.D.O.W.) Program.

Katherine Browna, Coordinator of Transitions and Leadership Program, said this about Welcome Week, “We want that first week of the semester to have a lot of opportunities for students to get out of their residence hall or stay on-campus for more than just their classes so they can start to create connections and get used to their new environment.  The transition to college comes with a lot of challenges and opportunities so the goal is to make students feel welcome and get them engaged from day one.”

Browna continued, “Events like the Hypnotist, Comedian, and Illusionist are great events opportunities to start creating shared memories with new friends.”

Another method that the University employs to encourage freshmen to get involved is the S.H.A.D.O.W. Program, which Browna says “provides first-year students with the extra push they need to start exploring the wealth of options we have outside of the classroom on campus.”

By encouraging students to attend at least one event in each of the six categories, not just six random events, Browna says that it challenges them to go to things they that otherwise might not have initially been drawn to.

“If a student attends at least one event in each of the six categories by the [Oct. 31] deadline, they automatically get a free sweatshirt and get the chance to win other big prizes like a $500 gift card to the bookstore, an Apple Watch, and other great prizes,” Browna explained.

“Hopefully this helps some students find something they didn’t even know they were interested in or helps them gain a skill they’ll find helpful moving forward,” she said. “Getting involved on campus can seem like an overwhelming process sometimes because there is so much to do so my hope is that the S.H.A.D.O.W. Program streamlines that process for some.”

“All in all, the hope is that students find their place on campus and begin to see Monmouth as a home away from home,” Browna continued. “Getting involved is often how students find their friends, discover and explore their passions.”

A student’s first year of college is often difficult, especially because many are beginning to explore more of their interests and re-define themselves as young adults.  Cubillos said, “I found myself to be more comfortable and that lead me to be more confident in who I am.”

PHOTO TAKEN by Matt Aquino