Students find niche in record number of on-campus organizations


Kassi Jackson / The Kent Stater Student organizations set up around Risman Plaza during BlastOff on Aug 30, 2015.

Benjamin VanHoose

Any student looking to be more involved on campus outside of studying and homework this year has more of a selection than ever.

Last spring semester, the Center for Student Involvement reported a record number of student organizations in Kent State history—402 officially-registered groups. That total includes Greek life, service groups and academic extracurriculars.

This semester, CSI anticipates an even larger number with most groups renewing this semester and a few new ones cropping up. Registration, however, doesn’t officially close until Sept. 23.

“I think the increase … is because we are getting such a better academic student here,” said Katie Goldring, assistant director of student activities at CSI. “Students have varied interests and are passionate about a lot of different things; that just leads to all these different types (of groups).”

Whether students have an affinity for Japanese anime, or feel a calling to political advocacy, there’s bound to be a club for everyone.

One new group already registered for this semester is a skiing and snowboarding club.

“Some of our new groups are really solidifying, forming and finding out the benefits of becoming (an official) student organization,” Goldring said.

Benefits of officially registering a group with CSI is scheduled spaces on campus to meet and funding from the Undergraduate Student Government. 

The only credentials needed for approval are a minimum of five student officers, a faculty adviser and the group’s constitution or mission.

The Quidditch team, which has had a presence on campus through word of mouth, has officially been registered this semester.

Angela Molina, a sophomore psychology major, is a returning member of the Quidditch team, now called the Kent Soaring Flashes. She said joining allowed her to feel more included in the Kent State community.

“Getting involved has definitely helped me make connections and meet people,” Molina said. “It’s just been an overall good experience.”

The way Goldring sees it, avoiding student organizations means losing out on part of the college experience.

“(Joining student organizations) gives you a bigger purpose for your time here,” she said. “It’s not just your academic program and classes … if you miss that involvement piece, you’re not getting the full picture of what it’s like to engage with other students.”

When senior integrated language arts major Kyle Fabricius came to Kent State his freshman year, joining a “Dungeons and Dragons” student organization shaped the rest of his college career. Today, Fabricius is the president of the role-playing board game group, now called the League of Extraordinary Tabletops.

“I would’ve never met my close circle of friends if I had never joined,” he said. “That’s honestly why I ended up taking over when those friends graduated—hopefully other students will get that same experience.”

The most popular organizations, Goldring said, fall under the Greek life, religious and recreation categories. Other genres of groups include political, special interest and educational, among others.

“Meeting people who share the same interests with you is the best part,” Fabricius said. “Even if it’s just because you want to play a certain game or get into a hobby, you’ll end up getting more out of it than you’d think.”

Benjamin VanHoose is an assigning editor for the Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].