Each year, roughly 600 of our 1400+ registered student organizations (RSOs) gather on the Quad on the Sunday before classes start in order to recruit new members. As a student looking for a new organization (or five) to join, it can be a lot to take in. On Quad Day my freshman year, my biggest objectives were to walk around, stop by any booth that looked remotely interesting, and to not trip in the middle of the Quad in front of everyone. I was, undoubtedly, unprepared.
Don’t be like me. It’s not fun to go to Quad Day hoping you’ll find the perfect organization. It can get overwhelming, and fast.
Here’s what I wish someone had told me two years ago:
Do your homework and visit our RSO website.
This is the only website with all 1400+ registered organizations in one place. Searchable by category, keyword, and first letter, this website is your key to finding interesting student organizations before you show up for quad day.
On the website, find three to five organizations that go along with your major. (If you’re in general studies, find professionally oriented organizations that seem interesting to you.)
Professional organizations are always looking for driven new members (come visit the Illinois Sports Business Conference!), and freshman year is the best time to apply. That way, you’ll have plenty of time to establish yourself and take on leadership roles later.
Then find another three to five organizations that are totally outside of your major that interest you.
Don’t underestimate this, especially if you’re a freshman. I’ve built up a few significant commitments over the course of my first two years, which is great, but it also means that I can’t be that flexible with my time in terms of joining another organization. Don’t just enjoy the flexibility that being an underclassman brings, use it. This is a tremendous time for you to expand your interests in ways that you were unable to in high school. And especially at Illinois, the opportunities are here.
Once you have all this information, you can map out your trip. (Here’s the 2016 map. 2017 isn’t up yet, but it shouldn’t be too different.)
This step is more optional than the rest, but it’s definitely useful if you’re trying to visit a wide variety of organizations.
I can’t guarantee you’ll find the perfect organization, but if you follow these steps I’m confident you’ll have a much better time than I did my first time at Quad Day. Good luck out there! Talk soon.