Connecting to campus early in college: Elizabeth Cole

Guest columnist Elizabeth “Lizzy” Cole is student body president and a rising senior at Baldwin Wallace University, where she studies mild/moderate educational needs while pursuing a minor in psychology. Operating on a platform of inclusion for people with disabilities and people of different religious backgrounds, Cole was elected BW’s student body president in February and will serve until early 2023.

Numerous studies have shown that getting involved and making connections in college can contribute to a student’s success as much as good time management and study skills. But how and where do students seek to find their place?

At Baldwin Wallace University, where I serve as student body president, there are a plethora of wonderful campus organizations. And there are many different avenues to find these clubs.

Even before arriving on campus, incoming and outgoing students can consult a list of recognized student organizations on the campus website (like this list for Baldwin Wallace). From there, they can start to get an idea of ​​which bands they might be interested in.

Once on campus, clubs and organizations can be found through social media, flyers, events like “engagement fairs” and word of mouth.

For example, in my freshman year, I auditioned for the Prism campus talent showcase, which I found through social media. I attended sorority recruiting after seeing a flyer on campus. I joined the Hillel organization on our campus after visiting their booth at the BW Involvement Fair. Finally, I joined student government after talking to other students about organizations they liked.

In most schools, there is something for everyone. BW has over 100 clubs and organizations covering almost every interest imaginable. There are clubs based on academics, athletics and recreation, music, religion and spirituality, service, wellness, and everything in between.

BW students actually have to be careful not to join too clubs, because there are so many amazing organizations on campus.

Aru Gupta, BW 2021 graduate and former student body president, gave me great advice when I was a freshman: Join a club you know you’ll like, a club you’re interested in, and a club you don’t think not like. This allows you to join new and different organizations while spreading your wings.

Like most campuses, the BW Engagement Fair, held the first week of classes in the fall, is the most popular opportunity for groups to recruit new members.

But for students not yet ready to get involved in the fall semester, those joining a college community for the first time in the spring semester, and even for sophomores, juniors, and seniors, the door does not close after this first semester.

At BW, a student organization celebration week is held in late January and provides another opportunity for student organizations to showcase their groups to interested students.

In fact, most student groups welcome new members at any time during the academic year, although a few have a specific application period. In general, there is no specific time to join most organizations, just people eager to have other students join them.

So if you are a new student coming to campus, I suggest you reach out to student leaders for guidance and support. I know I am happy to guide any new BW student as they find their place and create their home in college. And I bet your student leaders will also help you find your place.

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