Getting Involved in Your University Community
How social activities and clubs can enrich your uni experience.
As a new university student, getting involved in clubs and volunteer activities is one of the best ways to find a sense of community. Mount Royal University has many clubs to suit the interests of all students. With many schools moving to online learning, clubs have a heightened importance for students to be connected and active in their campus communities.
Shereen Samuels, director of student services for the Students' Association of Mount Royal University (SAMRU) recommends that students do two things: that they volunteer and that they join a club. Samuels explains that when coming to a new school, students find themselves separated from their old peer groups and in need of creating new connections.
"A club is an easy, ready-made peer group that has the same interests as you," says Samuels.
Why join a club?
A large part of the university experience is about being on campus — meeting new people and connecting with other students with similar interests — the best way to replicate that experience, even online, is by engaging with clubs. To some students, joining a club may seem daunting, or they might feel like they don't have the time to balance joining a club with school and work.
"A club can take up as much time as you want it to," says Samuels. She explains that clubs send out information about activities and events, and students can pick and choose which functions they want to participate in.
"As a club member, you could be engaging with your club once a year, once a semester, once a month or everyday," says Samuels. She explains that once students have made a connection with a club, it becomes a friendly gathering they're eager to attend, rather than an inconvenient formal commitment.
While clubs provide enormous opportunities for socializing, they also provide academic support. The purpose of academic clubs is to help students through their courses by focusing on the needs of the specific program. Academic club funds can be used to purchase communal textbooks for club members, so students won't be financially compromised by having to buy their own textbooks. These clubs also bring in speakers, plan graduate parties and more. "The limit is students' imaginations. Part of being a club member is getting a say in what they do with the funds that they either fundraise or get given by SAMRU," say Samuels.
If you have a hobby that doesn't have a club at the university of your choice, start your own to meet more students who share your passions. And, you may also boost your leadership skills — perfect for your resumé.
"Through clubs, we've seen students develop a sense of themselves, their passion, what they have to give and what they're good at. Clubs help students realize what they have to offer," says Samuels.
Starting a club not only grows your circle of friends, it also helps you to harness new skills.
"Students who start and run the clubs dedicate a good amount of time to it, but it's a massive professional growth opportunity," says Samuels. You're never going to be alone if you want to start a club!"
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