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Getting Involved on Campus

Updated on June 28, 2012
HLKeeley profile image

HL Keeley has received a Bachelors Degree in Middle Grades Education. She has just completed her first year teaching.

Chancellor Belcher and Student Government President T.J Eaves, lead the freshman across the field at the first home game of the Fall 2011football season!
Chancellor Belcher and Student Government President T.J Eaves, lead the freshman across the field at the first home game of the Fall 2011football season! | Source

Being active on campus is a very important aspect of college life. Most advice given to incoming freshmen is academics are first. While this is true, most freshmen think this advice means that academics are the only thing to focus on in college.

Many colleges and universities accept students who were very active in high school with clubs, sports, musicals, art shows, and volunteering. These activities show the school that you contributed back to your high school. You left your hand mark in the drying cement. Colleges and universities want that from their students as well. This makes the campus grow and become more appealing to seniors in high school.

Whitewater rafting in the Nantahala River, with Base Camp Cullowhee.
Whitewater rafting in the Nantahala River, with Base Camp Cullowhee. | Source

Clubs

"This school has a Harry Potter club!" "Western has an intramural sport called Humans vs. Zombies! That will be SO much fun!" (Western seriously has Humans vs. Zombies as a sport. Very amusing to get stuck in a battle)

These clubs and sports make memories and friends. In a college filled with so many students trying to better their future, how do you find the ones who can potentially be your best friend for life? Big expectations, I know, but there are so many stories about how people met in college.

You find these people in clubs that interest you. Most likely the people in this club are there for similar reasons.

Men's Basketball
Men's Basketball | Source
Western Carolina University's Pride of the Mountains marching band marches in the 122nd Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade.
Western Carolina University's Pride of the Mountains marching band marches in the 122nd Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade. | Source

Sports

With these new found friends, you can now go out to root for your football team or soccer team or like at my school, the band! Yup, the band members at my school are actually cool! Take that stereotypes!

This is a fun environment to hang out with friends and get the adrenaline high watching your running back make a touchdown. (Did I get the terminology correct?) Not a big sports fan, except for baseball, but yet I go to every home game for football! Why? Because it is so much fun!

The parking lot is crammed with cars tailgating. Fraternities and sororities set up their corn hole board and the cooler full of beers. The clubs on campus are barbecuing free hamburgers and hot dogs. Your school's mascot is walking around posing for pictures while in the background the band is providing fun, upbeat music.

On the other spectrum of sports, if you truly love sports go try out for the team. Guys, being a cheerleader in college is not as bad as high school makes it out. Bonus: you get to hang around gorgeous girls all the time who trust you will catch them when they fall! Hint hint.

Not making the team does not mean you are bad at sports, so why not oil the rusty chains with the intramural sports. All can play as long as you find a team. If you can't find a team, make one.

Deborah LaGrasse, American Union...I always thought it was two shower heads, this is why I am not an art major :)
Deborah LaGrasse, American Union...I always thought it was two shower heads, this is why I am not an art major :) | Source

Theatre and the Arts

This is a little more difficult to be active with on campus. The arts usually are students already involved with the program on campus through their majors and minors.

That does not mean you can not go to see a musical or go to an art show. The talent these students possess are mind blowing. You can see a Broadway style play for five bucks, maybe even less!

You can see the artwork most likely around campus. Sculptures displayed by the art buildings were not paid for! They were made in a class by a student.

The pictures taken of the school that you see blown up in the cafeteria or the main building of campus were most likely taken by an aspiring photographer.

Murals on campus were made by the introductory class for the arts program to show visitors and other students, the raw talent that the school was able to bring in!

Greek student organizations from across the campus particiipated in the annual Greek games.
Greek student organizations from across the campus particiipated in the annual Greek games. | Source

Greek Life

While Greek Life involves some money saving, this aspect of college is very important for the university. The Greeks are what make tailgating what it is. They are the ones yelling the loudest in the stands. They contribute so much to the college through volunteer work and participation in events.

The Greeks make events. Recruitment and rushing is seen throughout the college. "Why are those guys look so formal?" "They are rushing to be part of Sigma Alpha Epsilon." "Hey, the Greeks are having a recruitment picnic, want to go check it out?"

But we all know why the Greeks are so much fun. I will say it, parties. They present an opportunity to free yourself from the school stresses. The Greeks also know how to throw a party. They are constantly being watched because of stereotypes, so if you ever get carded before entering a fraternity or sorority party do not be surprised. They will get in a HUGE amount of trouble for allowing underage drinking.

But most of all, this is where you will meet your friends. This is where you build connections, but most of all this is where you find family with your sisters and brothers.

Western's RUF: Reformed University Fellowship in Panama City, Florida for RUF Summer Conference. Yes, I had to put this picture up :)
Western's RUF: Reformed University Fellowship in Panama City, Florida for RUF Summer Conference. Yes, I had to put this picture up :)
Sitting on the beach for reflection after large group.
Sitting on the beach for reflection after large group.

Campus Ministries

Being new to the religious life scene on campus, I am finding that this is another major part of college. This is where you meet people that you usually pass on the way to class without a second glance. These are the people that you may be acquaintances with. Through your similar beliefs, your friendship grows and blossom.

There are all religious beliefs on campus. Most likely there is a church located on or near campus. There might be a temple or synagogue close by as well. Or maybe the ministry is like the one I am part of that meets on campus in conference rooms.

A church building does not make it a church. The people, the community make it a church. Finding people in this community strengthens your beliefs, and you now have someone to discuss those beliefs. Beliefs are important in a person's life.

If you do not know what to belief and are in search of a belief, I truly recommend you check out every one. Meet with the leader of the group whether it be a minister, priest, rabbi, or whatever other titles there are. Get the feel of the community. These people may change your life for the better.

The store window for Jake's Mountain House a local clothing store in Sylva, NC during WCU's Paint the Town Purple.
The store window for Jake's Mountain House a local clothing store in Sylva, NC during WCU's Paint the Town Purple. | Source
A picture taken from the annual Tuck River Cleanup.
A picture taken from the annual Tuck River Cleanup. | Source

Getting Involved in the Community

Many colleges and universities benefit the towns located around them. The university brings in tourism and business for small businesses. Restaurants are constantly giving discounts to students and promote through the school. Students are the employees at most of the local businesses along with the residents.

These two worlds balance each other. Both contribute to each other and work well together.

Get involved with volunteer opportunities. This is a great chance to clean up the town and make it look nice for tourists. You were once that prospective student coming to see the school. Good looking schools are more appealing than crumpling schools. Plant flowers on campus, with approval from the school of course. In my area, the Tuckasegee River is a prominent feature to the landscape, aside from the mountains. The school has an annual River Cleanup with volunteers from clubs, Greek life, athletes, and many other organizations on campus!



Only a small section of the very huge student section at the football games.
Only a small section of the very huge student section at the football games. | Source

So What is College?

THIS IS COLLEGE! This is the scene in all movies that high school students anticipate for! Not to get drunk, but to have fun! To be free to party all night with friends!

What is better is that the school WANTS you to be tailgating, appropriately. They want you cheering in the stands for a not so great football team. They want you at the musicals and art shows. They want you to volunteer with the community. The school encourages you to be part of the Greek life.

Whether you will admit this or not, but the faculty at your school has been where you are! They know what it is like to be in college and the stresses that comes with it. There is a reason that your school has a mascot. It unites you as one.

"I am a Catamount." Wait you are a mountain cat that does not really exist? No. I am a Catamount because I am an active student at Western Carolina who loves the school I go to. You can go to Western and still not be a Catamount. Through these activities and betterment of the school, you prove that you truly belong with the university.

By my use of Western Carolina pictures, you can see how much I love being a Catamount!

Day to Day Life in WCU

Sledding on the soccer field
Sledding on the soccer field | Source
Drumming out by the fountain
Drumming out by the fountain | Source
Tossing the ball lacrosse style by the fountain
Tossing the ball lacrosse style by the fountain | Source

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    • Tricia Hein profile image

      Tricia Hein 5 years ago from Morgantown, West Virginia

      It's been my experience that the smaller a college is, the better it is to be involved. My school had less than 3,000 students, and while we didn't have a Harry Potter Club, students were more dedicated to the History Club than the students at the large state university where I grew up. People joined not to have something good on their resumes, but because they enjoyed the activity and wanted to make friends.

    • mattdigiulio profile image

      mattdigiulio 5 years ago

      Hey there, As a student in my senior year, I read over your thoughts with nostalgia and regret. I was involved in many ways, but I wish I found a cool club to be part of. Alas, i've been attending a tiny liberal arts school and so there isn't tooo much out there. But it's been a fun journey nonetheless. Voting this one up.