(Orientation) Getting involved on campus

Cameron Gorman & Melissa Puppo

In high school, you might have only been involved with one sport or activity. In college, this is the time to experience it all by getting involved on campus.

There are more than 400 student organizations at Kent State representing diverse interests in academics, culture, politics and more.  

Getting involved in organizations that match your passions and interests or opens your mind to learn new skills and meet new people is what college is about.

This is also the time to dive deep into getting a head start into your career.

You will learn in the lecture halls, but when it comes down to it, there’s nothing like getting hands-on experience with one of these organizations.

“I think it’s really important to find your niche right away, so one of the great options for that is to join a student organization on campus,” said Katie Goldring, assistant director of the Center for Student Involvement. “Since we have many organizations to choose from, there really is a group that can fit anybody’s special interests, needs or hobbies.

Sophomore Irene Altieri is very aware of the benefits of involvement.

Since arriving in the last fall, she has been involved in numerous LGBTQ organizations.

Altieri said she balances interning at the LGBTQ Center with being a member of Pride Kent, as well as working on programming for the cause.

“Right now, I’m going to be working on the Flashes of Pride Poster and I’m working on reaching out to High School GSAs (Gay-Straight Alliances) to get them involved (as well),” Altieri said.

She said there are many ways to get involved and that there’s a student group or organization for almost every interest.  

Altieri attended Blastoff— a welcome-weekend event held in the fall on Risman Plaza and the Student Green—  at the start of her freshman year and was amazed at all the different tables for students to get familiar with the different organizations.

“It was pretty helpful, I got to talk to a lot of people that I didn’t think I would talk to if I didn’t (attend),” Altieri said.

The Student Organization Fair held in the Kent Student Center in the spring is another option for students to have the chance to meet a lot of the members of the organization once they have already started their freshman career.

“Don’t be shy,” Altieri said. “If you have questions, go talk to people that know the answers. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and go to these different organizations—it’s okay to talk and ask how you can get in.”

Getting involved has more to offer than just being a way to make friends. It offers plenty of benefits. Goldring said students can benefit from joining a student organization by learning time management skills and by networking and making connections that a student can use throughout their life.

Most organizations also have leadership positions for students to run for in the future. Those positions will allow students to gain skills that will carry over when looking for jobs after graduating.

“Joining an organization creates a family for you at Kent State, and those students who create that feeling just statistically do better in their classes and stay here and persist to graduation,” Goldring says. “Involvement outside of the classroom makes a full college experience, where as if somebody just comes and goes on campus, they might not get that entire experience of what it’s like to go to college.”

Don’t worry if you can’t find an organization you’re interested in—you can make one.

Just find five Kent State students who want to join, a faculty or staff advisor and you must write a constitution for your organization labeling the specifics of the group.

“Not only is it just good to get people involved, it also brings awareness to different issues, and it makes people feel more of a community when you try and reach out- when you’re closer to everyone,” Altieri said.