By Natalie Keller Pariano, Director of the Campus Leadership & Involvement Center
Tomorrow is one of my favorite events of the fall: the Involvement Fair. The Academic Quad will be full of energy – colorful banners carefully hung, freshly printed event calendars in hand and almost our entire student body moving swiftly around 200 tables, some upperclassmen swapping out one organization’s t-shirt for another on the way to their next shift. It is easy to be swept up in that flurry of excitement, especially when you realize we have our very own Quidditch team. But before your hand cramps from signing up for every interesting and unique organization, let’s take a look at involvement at Denison.
What does involvement look like at Denison?
“Come to college open minded! Random life events (DSO and LeaderShape) helped me to discover what I wanted to do; I couldn’t have planned for how my college experience would go.” –Emma Bosley-Smith, ’15
What I love about involvement at Denison, is it looks different for every student. While your mind might immediately jump to student-led campus organizations, in your time at Denison you are sure to find that being an engaged and involved student takes many forms.
Certainly, joining a student-led campus organization or two might be appealing to you. There are more than 175 registered campus organizations, and the diversity and variety never cease to amaze me. We have political groups, fraternities and sororities, media and publications, multi-cultural organizations, academic honoraries, a wide array of special interest organizations and so many more. You will have the chance to meet many of the leaders of these organizations at the Involvement Fair. For a sneak preview and to do your research, visit denison.orgsync.com where you can scope out all of the organizations along with purpose statements and student leader contacts.
It’s important to remember that involvement is more than your membership in organizations. During your tenure at Denison, you might:
• Visit The Open House and engage in religious and spiritual life opportunities
• Represent Big Red on the field in Varsity, club or intramural sports
• Volunteer for community service opportunities
• Perform in a music, theatre or dance production
• Attend campus events and performances regularly
• Consider career and professional development opportunities
• Discover your values and develop your commitment to lead at a leadership program
• Work at an on-campus job
• Contribute to our living/learning community by participating in residence hall activities
Why should you get involved at Denison?
“Always be sure you’re learning and having fun with your co-curricular activities.” – Eric Evans, ‘15
Maybe you are looking to make new friends, contribute to a cause you care about or build your resume. If you know what your goals are for your involvement, you’re already ahead of the game. Knowing what you expect to get out of your involvement is very important. Equally as important is what you hope to learn. Are there career skills you wish to build? Do you want to practice collaborating and communicating with others? Are you looking to increase your understanding of diversity?
Here are just some of the potential ways you might grow and benefits you might experience because of your involvement.
• Develop leadership skills
• Increase self awareness
• Make new friends
• Complement your classroom learning
• Acquire transferable skills
• Practice critical thinking and decision making
• Increase your capacity to work with others
• Make a difference in the campus community and beyond
• Express yourself creatively
• Learn about diverse perspectives and experiences
• Develop professionally and personally
• Build community and foster Denison spirit
• Practice holism, wellness and balance
• Have fun!
You’ll never have trouble finding ways to get involved at Denison, but you may have trouble narrowing down your list. There are so many options some students find it difficult to pick just a few. For an insider’s view into the joys and challenges of involvement at Denison, we turned to our CLIC student staff: “the CLICkers.”
We call them co-curricular (not EXTRA-curricular) activities for a reason – ideally your involvement should complement what you are doing in the classroom!
-Catalina Esparza, ‘14
If you love it, go for it! Or try something different, and discover a new passion!
-Laura Wilson, ‘14
Your involvement should reflect what’s important to you and what you enjoy. Look for things that inspire you and make you feel accomplished.
-Elizabeth Zak, ‘14
Most importantly, you came to college as a student, so your academics should always remain your first priority.
-Sasha Rupachandeo, ‘16
At first you’ll want to join every organization that seems interesting, but my advice would be to just choose two or three things that you’re passionate about. You’ll get a lot more out of your experience that way!
-Susan Cherry, ‘15
Ask yourself what you want to learn more about and seek out organizations that can help you grow and enhance your skills.
-Abby Chua, ‘15
Find your niche! You’ll benefit from the depth of an organization or two, but still have time for homework and socializing.
-Taylor Arend, ‘15
It’s okay to focus on your academics and become more involved on campus next semester or the next year. Just remember that the club will still be there tomorrow, next week, or next semester!
-Sahila Jorapur, ‘15
Gearing up for the big day & beyond
The Involvement Fair will be a cornucopia of possibility and excitement. It’s not uncommon to be a little overwhelmed by the sheer volume of all that we have to offer at Denison. Come see us at the red Campus Leadership & Involvement Center (CLIC) tent tomorrow. We’ll make sure you have a map and an Involvement Fair Guide that will help you to reflect about what you hope to learn, what you hope to gain, what you care about and how much time you will have to spend that will make navigating your involvement plans a little easier…not to mention you can enter to win an iPad Mini!
Most importantly, you don’t have to figure it all out at the Involvement Fair. You have four years to dabble, to test and to try. Visit us in CLIC and we’ll set you up with a one-on-one advising session with a professional staff member or one of our CLICkers. Together, we are happy to match your passions, goals and learning interests with organizations and opportunities at Denison – to help you find where you CLIC!