As a Sophomore, I now recognize that I was not as involved as I probably should have been last year. As I start to build my résumé, I am realizing that I’m not involved on campus. Of course, I really want to enjoy what I am doing and for that reason, I have listed just a few things that have piqued my interest and will hopefully pique yours too! (Just a warning: I did not list all the classic clubs and direct things you can do on campus- this article is informative about the paths you can take to network, find out more about HWS and generally feel like you are a part of this community!)
On campus, PLEN (Public Leadership Education Network) is “a national organization that encourages and prepares young women to become political leaders by hosting academic seminars… this organization aims to increase the number of women in top leadership positions by exposing college women to role models and skills training needed before entering the workforce in public policy careers.” (https://www.hws.edu/academics/women_for_women.aspx) Through the work of our wonderful William Smith deans, the organization has been continued thriving this year. The chapter leaders of PLEN host breakfasts, help women find careers in law, and host events to create a more comfortable and tight-knit community for all the William Smith women on campus. You can get involved by applying to be a chapter leader, which comes with a number of responsibilities, including working with the deans on important campus issues. PLEN also hosts seminars which are really informative and helpful, depending on which ones pertain to your interest! Becoming friends with the women of PLEN and networking may not seem like a direct way to become more involved; however, by creating more bonds with more women on campus, you can go to more events and speak to people who can also help you find you your niche on campus!
2. Student Government Meetings
I am pretty new to the whole “become more involved” scene, so I found it really informative to go to a student government meeting. Personally, I went to a small high school where no one really cared about the issues that were put on the table; this was not at all the case at the meeting I attended this past Tuesday. Every single person in that room cared about at least one ongoing issue. I especially enjoyed the joint meeting between Hobart and William Smith, because these meetings are usually separate (William Smith Congress and Hobart Student Government). We covered topics from club funding to hard-hitting issues of race that have caused some tension on campus recently. A student government meeting will be a place you can meet other students, have your voice heard, and become more informed about the policies and events going on around campus.
3. Go to Lunch with Someone Who Has a Different Viewpoint than You!
Let’s say you’re in a debate class, like Debating Public Policy. There’s probably an overwhelming majority of people in the room who have strong opinions. Why not go to Saga with them? Take a minute and talk to them, and see if they would be willing to talk with you about their stance on a particular issue that may differ from yours. It’s important not to get entrenched in our own views; understanding someone else’s reasoning and point of view could make you reconsider yours. Just remember to be a good listener, consider every side, and definitely try to make sure it doesn’t get out of hand. It’s just lunch, not an actual debate.
4. Join an Intramural/Club Sport
Channel some pent-up anger into a friendly game of soccer, volleyball or even rugby. These intramural and club sports are a great way to meet people who definitely have at least one thing in common with you. Plus, they will not necessarily be in your class year, so your friendships can be far-reaching in our small community. Sports can be stress-relieving, a great way to spend your time, and all-around fun to re-spark some gym class memories. Club sports also travel to games on the weekend, if you are looking for something to do on that end as well.
5. Get an On-Campus Job!
America Reads, the deans office, admissions office, and even Saga are just a few ways that you will meet tons of people and help our campus and Geneva. America Reads is a tutoring service for the children of Geneva. Currently, I work for the Boys and Girls Club of Geneva and I absolutely love it. I work with children of all ages in 4th through 8th grade. I drive over with a few other HWS students and we work with children on their homework and interact with them in other ways like playing games to keep them busy. I have met so many people through my work with Geneva’s children, and I feel like I am making a positive difference in someone else’s life. It’s a good feeling and a fantastic paid job.
I have also heard of people working in Admissions who have loved giving tours! Networking with those in the admissions office and declaring your love for our lakeside school could not be found in another job except Admissions. Probably the best way to show your affection for the school: showing other families that investing in our institution will make them love it as much as you do.
I love school, but I have found even more love for it after expanding my friendships and seeing how others become active on campus. College is where you build your résumé and have fun doing it, so get out there and discover what makes you happy! Whether it’s endurance in a sport, or having a mind-teeming conversation with the deans as a job, there is something out there for anyone willing to go out and expand their horizons. HWS is a small, friendly campus that has something for everyone. We have to indulge in the student life and make positive change happen. It starts with us!