You’ve made it to campus. Your schedule is set, you’ve moved into your residence hall, had an awkward conversation about sharing the mini fridge with your roommate, and you’re ready to make the most of your semester. You want to get involved in a college club, but you’re not sure where to start. Have no fear! Many ways exist to find different student groups on your campus, and in this blog, we’ve listed a few to get you started.
Go to a Student Activities Fair
Wouldn’t it be great if there was some sort of event where all the clubs on campus gathered in search of new members, with tables full of information and free pens galore? Good news, there (usually) is! At the beginning of the school year, most colleges (including UIUC) will have student activity fairs.
Activity fairs are a low-key way to investigate different clubs you might be interested in without having to fully commit. You can browse the tables, ask questions, and make sure to take all the free pens you can carry.
Once the activity fair is over, think about which groups made the biggest impact. When you’ve picked your favorites, attend a meeting and decide which clubs you want to join long-term.
Take Advantage of the Internet
Maybe your university doesn’t have an activities fair, or maybe you overslept and missed it after getting in your last end-of-summer Netflix binge. But if you have access to the internet, you have a virtual activities fair in your back pocket 24/7!
Most colleges have a website dedicated to showcasing all of their different student clubs and organizations. For example, at UIUC, you can find a sortable and searchable list of registered student organizations on the student engagement website.
Another good way to investigate clubs you might be interested in is to find their social media pages. Instagram and Facebook can give you an idea of what kind of events or activities the club is actually doing. With this insider look, you’ll know which clubs are for you in no time.
Look for Groups Related to Your Major
Oftentimes, opportunities to get involved in different clubs happen through your major. And the best part is, these clubs really, really want you to join. Their whole motivation is bringing together students with similar interests and goals to network, commiserate over tough classes, and have fun together.
If you’re not sure where to find clubs related to your major, you can try searching the usual suspects we discussed above—student group websites or social media—but you can also find them through your academic department.
Ask your academic advisor to point you in the right direction, or maybe an older student who’s in the club and can give you an inside scoop. Some of these groups may even visit your lectures to talk about their organizations.
Think About What You Like to Do
Did you have a favorite activity from high school? Maybe a sport you played, or an instrument? How about something you’ve always wanted to do but never had the chance, like that secret ambition to become an expert beekeeper or an elite Quidditch player?
No matter how obscure you think your interests are, there’s probably a college club to suit your fancy. Student organizations can be a great way to build professional connections in your field of study, but they are more importantly a way to build friendships, relax, and have fun amidst the stress of college.
Finding college clubs to join when you first arrive on campus can seem like a tall task, but it’s important to remember there’s no pressure to find the perfect fit right away. College is all about trying new things, and it’s okay if those new things turn out differently than you expected. Who knows? You might just find the hobby you’ve been searching for your whole life!