Many college students choose to live at home while attending school, instead of moving into on-campus housing. Without the dorm-life camaraderie, commuter students are often nervous about making friends, but many solve this problem by joining extracurricular activities on campus, which allows them to meet new people.
Ellen Hartman, Dean of Student Affairs at South University, Virginia Beach, says there are a number of reasons college students should get involved in extracurricular activities.
“We, as employees of South University, want and desire our students to graduate. In order to provide the services and support students need to do just that, we need to create avenues for them to make connections to the university, the peers in which they work toward their degrees with, and the faculty and staff who will support and guide them toward graduation,” Hartman says.
Hartman adds that participating in extracurricular activities gives commuter students in particular a sense of belonging, while establishing leadership skills.
“By becoming involved in extracurricular activities, students become more a part of the South University community, developing relationships that encourage them and motivate them to persevere to the finish line — getting their degree,” Hartman says.
Types of Extracurricular Activities
Schools offer a wide-variety of extracurricular activities to fit the many different interests of college students — both commuters and those living on campus. Activities can include things like career-based clubs, student government, service organizations, intramural sports, the school newspaper, and much much more.
Hartman says South University, Virginia Beach has a variety of clubs and organizations on campus including the Student Veterans Association, Student Activities Board, Social Science Club, Legal Studies Club, and a Book Club.
“The Student Activities club is responsible for providing activities, and workshops outside of the classrooms, which allows students to part take in social events with other peers, faculty, and staff,” Hartman says. Examples of some programs we have put on in the past include career services week, Student Success Series, Pizza with the President, guest speakers, (and) community service projects.”
Ways College Students Can Get Involved
Whether students are looking for extracurricular activities to assist in making friends, developing leadership skills, or finding something fun to do with their free time, there are plenty of ways to get involved.
Many schools hold an activity fair at the beginning of the semester that students can attend to meet with representatives from different campus organizations at once, to see what they might be interested in joining. Other common places to find out about getting involved in extracurricular activities include flyers posted around campus, the school newspaper, and word of mouth.
Hartman says new students at South University are given a tour of the campus and introduced to the variety of clubs, organizations, and activities available to them.
“Orientation is also an opportunity in which members of the clubs and organizations speak to new students about their experiences and the benefits of joining a club,” Hartmann says. “For continuing students, extracurricular opportunities are posted around campus in the form of fliers and by word of mouth. We highlight weekly activities in a weekly email from Student Affairs and post on our Facebook page.”
Extracurricular Activities and the Resume
Participating in extracurricular activities can do more than help with making friends and strengthening leadership skills — it can also impress potential employers.
Hartman says that when a student is involved in extracurricular activities, it shows a desire to become involved in more ways than just attending classes.
“There is a level of commitment shown from a student who wants to take their extra time and put back into the university, whether that is through a leadership role in a club or organization, or participating in seminars,” Hartman says. “When students become involved in other activities it expresses a desire to learn and take on more responsibility, which is something I believe employers look for in potential hires.”
Author: Laura Jerpi