This semester is a weird one for sure. You’re probably swamped with Zoom meetings, online class websites, and a million emails. Joining a student-run organization could be the last thing on a lot of your minds.
However, as the president of one of the many amazing student-run groups on campus, I strongly urge you to consider them! Joining a Registered Student Organization (RSO) is an extremely fulfilling experience. RSOs are great for many reasons: they can be academic support groups, they boost your resume, and can act as a social outlet!
Because of the circumstances surrounding campus life this semester, the induction process for all RSOs look a bit different. As someone who is on the recruitment side, I’d like to share a couple of tips and tricks to joining an RSO during this difficult time. I hope that these tips apply during ‘normal’ semesters as well!
Figure out what you’re looking for.
As I mentioned earlier, there are several benefits of joining an RSO. However, it is also a difficult semester, especially with everything online. You need to spend your time wisely.
Are you in pre-med and looking for friends to study for the MCAT with? Did you play varsity sports in high school and want to continue that at Illinois? Or, are you simply looking for a way to make friends? Figure out what kind of RSO you want to join – there are over 2,000 organizations at Illinois, and you need to start narrowing your list down somewhere!
When I was a freshman, I was really shy – I thought RSOs might find it weird if I messaged them through one of their social media platforms. Now that I’m on the executive board of a student-run organization, I can say that it’s the exact opposite. We love it when new students take the initiative to reach out!
RSOs usually have a website where you can find contact information. If not, then go through Facebook or Instagram and try find their pages. If that fails too, then the Office of Registered Organizations has a great database called UofIConnections where you can find a list of all RSOs on campus. Send them a message or email and tell them you’re interested in joining!
What if the RSO doesn’t take everyone?
Some RSOs, like Greek Life or academic societies, will have a recruitment process where they narrow down a limited number of potential new members. If you’re truly committed to joining a certain organization on campus, don’t let this worry you – you will get in. However, it’s always good to be prepared. Most of these RSOs will be using Zoom as a way to recruit this semester – use this to your advantage!
Treat these organizations like you’re applying for a job. Do your research – what kinds of people are they looking for? How will you contribute to these organizations? Write these things down, and go to your interview or recruitment event prepared. Since all forms of recruitment are online this semester, you can bring these notes with you!
Joining an RSO is an awesome experience – I’ve loved every group I’ve been a part of since I became at student at Illinois. It might be difficult to join now, but it is absolutely worth it!