With an undergraduate enrollment of nearly 60,000; the second largest university in the United States, set in Florida’s home to more than a dozen theme parks, the University of Central Florida spans 1,415 acres. Seems huge, doesn’t it? Yet there are many ways to make this giant university feel smaller. Some students will choose to rush a sorority or fraternity (see our blogs about that here and here), but others will not find Greek life their cup of tea. No worries; there are many other possible ways to get involved on campus.
Some of you may believe that your student’s first job is school, and I couldn’t agree more. That said; being involved in some way is rather important too. Firstly, joining a club will help your student build a community. Since they’re leaving their family and sometimes their friends behind, getting involved helps them to discover new friends with similar interests. It only takes a few friends to make a large school feel smaller.
Joining clubs or organizations allows students to discover their passions and strengths. It also helps them to discover what they don’t like, which can be just as important. Freshman year is not too soon to begin thinking about positioning yourself for future employment as well. Club involvement helps to build resumes.
Sometimes, busier kids do better in all areas. True, this isn’t so for all students, but it is for my kids and me. More free time does not always equal better grades. Being involved will require some organization and time management on the part of the student—and that’s a good thing to master as well.
Now that we’ve established the benefits of being involved in something other than the happy hour and working on the perfect tan; the question is where he/she finds the right club or organization. Firstly, encourage your son/daughter to explore and not settle on the first club he/she visits. If after a few meetings he/she realizes that this is not where his/her passion lies; he/she should move on…but definitely, try another. I say go with an open mind and try everything once. One of my daughters attended a Her Campus meeting, simply because her friend invited her. She instantly enjoyed it and in time became a writer and editor-in-chief. She not only loved the positions, but it helped to guide her to choose a new major and looked great on her resume.
I would love to give you a list of all the different places your student can get involved, but UCF literally has over 600 student clubs and organizations on campus. There are art shows, sports and student clubs, volunteer opportunities and outdoor adventures; all gateways to getting involved. Take a look at this website. It is a bit overwhelming, but it is great to have choices. That list doesn’t include intramural sports though; another way to meet people, have fun and stay in shape. There are always flyers and signs about campus as well. Below is a list of some popular clubs/organizations.
Student Government – Perhaps a voice in UCF’s student government is of interest to your student. This is a great way to hone those leadership skills. Speaking of leadership, the UCF President’s Leadership Council, one of the most prestigious organizations on campus, is a great way to be involved. (Students must apply.)
Knight-thon is wildly popular amongst sorority girls, but truly there are many others who love to get involved. It is the largest, student-run philanthropy providing support to the local Children’s Miracle Network.
Homecoming is a fun weekend for all; even outsiders and families of students. Yet it definitely takes a village to make all the activities and hype come together. Why not volunteer to plan Spirit Splash?
Quidditch Team – I admit; I had to look this up and maybe it isn’t wildly popular, but if your student is an avid Harry Potter fan, this might be his/her sport. It is a unique mix of rugby, dodgeball, and a few other sports; adapted from the world of Harry Potter.
Perhaps your student wants to write or be involved in editing or publishing of the Central Florida Future, part of the USA Today Network, or for Knight News. These will surely keep him/her in the know and look great on a resume.
Volunteer opportunities are also a great way to get involved. One might want to start with the Knights Pantry that collects and supplies food to those in need, including UCF students that are in need. Check out our blog on other Knight volunteer opportunities.
OTeam – O-Team members assist in the facilitation of all Freshman, or First Time in College (FTIC), and Transfer student Orientation sessions. Applications for the 2020 team will open in September 2019, so keep a look-out! Students are required to take a 2 credit class in the Spring semester.
UCF Diamond Girls – help out the UCF baseball team and get more involved in UCF sports.
If none of these are your student’s thing; students can go to the Student Union and on the second floor to the Office of Student Involvement (OSI). There, they are able to meet with other students to learn more about how to get involved.
Another great opportunity is to sign up for a Knight Quest session. Students are able to speak with an RSO (registered student organization) advisor on opportunities that would be best for them.
It’s not necessarily what they do, but rather that they find their place. As it says on the UCF website, “Don’t just go to college – get the most out of it.” I couldn’t agree more.