6 Ways to Get Involved on Campus

Any time I think about my undergraduate experience, I smile. My days at my alma mater, THE Winston-Salem State University, were some of the best days of my life. Nothing can stop the five years I spent there (except maybe the day I get married. If you’re reading this future husband, hey!!! I can’t wait to meet you). My undergraduate era would have not been the highlight of my life thus far had I not got involved.

Being in the marching band, becoming a member of Tau Beta Sigma, acting as a mentor to first-year students, participating in community service projects, joining numerous clubs and organizations, and more afforded me numerous opportunities that probably wouldn't have been given to me if I didn’t take part in the campus and community life.

Becoming involved is a necessity. Not just because of the endless possibilities and the people you meet but also because it makes you a more well-rounded person and helps you stand out. Employers and graduate programs will pick the student who was involved throughout their college career over the student who did nothing for four years, trust me.

Here are a few ways that you can become more involved before graduating:

1. Find and join common interests groups (clubs)

One major way to find friends and get involved is to focus on what you’re passionate about. Whether your passion is singing, playing video games, or showcasing pride in your culture, chances are, there is at least one organization on campus that is focused on the same thing. The easiest way to know about the organizations is to pay attention to postings and emails.

For us SCAD students, it can be hard to miss the postings because they are right by the entrance near the garage where if you stop even for one second between classes, you’ll get trampled over. Try to stop by the area when there isn’t a ton of people around and see what’s going happening around campus. That club or organization you’ve been wanting to be a part will lead you to so many networking opportunities.  

2. Community service and volunteering

A great way to impress potential employers and/or stand out when applying for graduate school, scholarships, grants, etc. is by discussing any community service and/or volunteer work you’ve participated in. This shows your love for helping others and that you’re humble, which are two amazing attributes people love. Aside from the self-benefits, community service and volunteering allows you to connect with the local neighborhoods who support your school and endeavors although you don’t even know them. Giving back is a rewarding experience and shouldn’t be something that’s overlooked.

3. Attend campus events

As SCAD students, we are constantly afforded chances at meeting numerous people from so many different industries. From aTVfest to SCAD Style to Ivy Hall Writers Series, there should be no reason to not want to attend an on-campus event. It’s the easiest way to network and to display school pride. Go to as many events as you can while you’re still in school. Trust me, once you graduate you’ll miss being able to just get up and go.

4. Join a sports team

Being part of sports team is for a specific group of people. I am not one of them. However, if you love sports, specifically the ones we have at SCAD ATL (Bowling, Cross Country, Cycling, Golf, Tennis, and Track), don’t be afraid to ask to possibly become a member of the team. Your passion in sports can take you a long way. It’s another thing that can make you stand out.

5. Get an on-campus job

Working on-campus isn’t just a way to gain work experience, it’s also a way to meet new people, make new connections, and learn more about the various services the campus offers. It 's also a great look on your resume that you worked on campus during the quarter. Let’s face it, being a student employee at SCAD while balancing projects and classes all during a ten-week time frame is a skill.

6. Study aboard

One of the most rewarding things I did during undergrad was study abroad in London and Paris. I was able to see and do things that I never imagined all because I took a leap of faith and applied to go. It’s an experience that changed my life and made me want to take part in more programs like it.

Studying aboard exposes you to different cultures and lifestyles. You meet and interact with people from all over the world, which shows to potential employers that diversity and inclusion are attributes that you possess. It broadens your horizons and opens your eyes to new things. As I’ve said, it’s truly a rewarding experience and is something you should highly consider. With SCAD having two locations overseas in Lacoste, France and Hong Kong, there is a way to make studying abroad a reality.

The common thread in the six points made is that being involved is a huge networking opportunity. Sometimes you can get a job without knowing anyone on staff but most careers and chances taken on potential employees comes from someone putting in a good word for them. As the saying goes, “it’s not about what you know, it’s about who you know.”

Seize every moment of your undergraduate experience. Get involved. Make your four (or five in my case) years in college experience worth sharing. Don’t be afraid to step up and show out.