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Getting Involved on Campus

Participating in student organizations and campus events can be a great way to get to know your school, make friends, build a professional network and have some fun along the way. Below are ten ways you can get involved with campus life.

1. Join or Start a Club

Most colleges and universities have numerous student-run campus clubs. These typically include interest-based groups (from cooking to comics) and activity-based groups (hiking or dancing, anyone?). Are you passionate about a specific political or social cause? College campuses have long been important political centers, and sharing your beliefs can be a good way to connect with other students and maybe even change a few minds. Options range from running a weekly meeting to setting up a booth at a student fair to staging peaceful protests on campus. Check with your student services center to learn more about joining existing student organizations or the process to start your own.

2. Participate in Student Government

Not only can joining student government help you meet more people and get involved with important campus matters, it's great for your resume. You'll gain leadership skills, make connections with a diverse body of students and be able to demonstrate that you participated in a central decision-making activity. Not only that, but you will also hear about upcoming events on campus that you can get out and attend.

3. Join the School Paper

One of the most valuable skills you'll gain in college is writing. No matter your major or your future career, the ability to write will always put you one step ahead of the game. Sharpen these skills while delving into the nuts and bolts of campus life by joining the student newspaper. There are likely to be opportunities for article writers, proofreaders (also known as copy editors), researchers, photographers and lead editors. Tip: Writing for the student newspaper is another great item to have on your resume.

4. Become a Tutor or Teaching Assistant

Do you excel in one particular area, such as writing or math? Consider offering your services to your college's tutoring centers. Many institutions actually hire students to tutor, or you can work for a volunteer tutoring organization that will match you with students who need help. This can be a good way to meet people outside of your major while gaining the satisfaction of helping other students.

You can also offer your time and services to professors as a teaching assistant or lab coordinator. This can be a great way to build connections with faculty and to stay on top of developments in your field of study.

5. Get Involved in Intramural Sports

Even if you're not a varsity-level athlete, many schools have lots of team sports opportunities for all students. These activities do not involve regular practices, just playing a game you love! Look for a variety of games, such as ultimate Frisbee, archery, hockey, bowling or flag football, or join a regular student pick-up game. This is a great way to meet others with similar interests as well as getting some exercise. Stop by your school's athletic center or gym to learn more about intramural opportunities.

Students who don't like to play can still get involved in sports by attending team games. This is a particularly important school spirit activity at large universities, where everything from tailgate parties to the games themselves offer countless opportunities for celebrating your school and having fun.

6. Join a Sorority or Fraternity

Many large colleges and universities offer 'Greek life,' or sororities and fraternities. Joining a sorority or fraternity can provide you with immediate access to some of the busiest and most influential social networks on campus. Getting into these organizations can be competitive, but they provide a lifelong network of social support and professional connections. Many Greek organizations also encourage members to get involved in volunteering, philanthropy and a variety of campus-based activities, which are all great additions to that developing resume!

7. Community Service and Volunteering

Community service and volunteering can really help broaden your horizons. More and more colleges are integrating volunteering and service learning directly into the curriculum. If you aren't taking any service learning courses, consider looking for campus-based volunteer organizations that can help you give back to your community alongside your peers. Options may range from tutoring local children to helping build homes or cleaning up neighborhood streets. Not only will this provide you with a sense of pride for giving back to your community, but it will provide you with valuable skills and (surprise, surprise) help to build your resume.

8. Attend Campus Events

Many colleges and universities host frequent campus events, including lectures, music, theater performances, movie screenings, dances and more. These are typically free for students, offer a chance to meet new people and are a safer alternative to wild college parties.

9. Get a Job on Campus

Who couldn't use a little extra money or a way to help pay for tuition? Work study and on-campus jobs are an excellent way to meet new people, make new connections and learn more about various college and university services. Usually, work study and on-campus positions are more flexible when it comes to your school schedule and student life, too.

10. Study Abroad

Interested in branching out beyond your institution? Many schools offer student exchange and study abroad programs that give you the opportunity to study at another college or university. This can expose you to the culture on another campus, or even in another country, and help you make new friends all over the world.

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