This guest post is written by Karim Khamisa.
Getting involved is beneficial for the individual and the community as a whole for a range of reasons.
However, there’s no denying the fact that sometimes it’s difficult to get involved.
I myself am still searching to find ways to get involved in my community post university. I can, however, give some recommendations to those who are still in university and are looking to make an impact.
Below are my recommendations to get involved on campus, in no particular order.
“What is the use of a house if you haven’t got a tolerable planet to put it on?”
1. Join a club/society
Joining a club/society will help you meet people, learn something new, and put your ever-growing critical thinking skills to great use. They are a way of meeting people in the real world who are involved in issues or industries that you may or may not be interested in. Best part is, you can join as many as you want and often times can choose how involved you are with them.
2. Plan events
You do not need to be in an official role to help people gather and interact. Plan events for your floor/building/class mates, start a study group, create an intramural team, etc. We are human and we require interaction with others to be happy, to learn, and to grow.
3. Participate in community service
Whether it is volunteering on or off your campus, community service involvement creates a great sense of appreciation and gratitude within someone. It helps keep you grounded and humble while increasing the quality of life of others. Explore your schools website and see if they facilitate opportunities. If not, contact a shelter or food kitchen.
4. Get involved with your student union
If your campus has a student association, it can be one of the best ways to serve your peers. The association will have opportunities of involvement that are unique to student associations. Run for council, coordinate events, or work for the association. It’s great for your resume and gives you experience with how governing bodies function.
5. Athletic involvement
Understanding that this is a hypocritical suggestion on my part, getting involved on athletic teams is great for your health and for meeting others. It’s also awesome for school pride. Heck, if you are good enough, join a varsity team and have your schooling paid for!
6. Join a Greek organization
You are in university to learn how to think critically. That being said, put your critical thinking skills to use and break the stereotypes you may have about fraternities and sororities. They are not for everyone, but they are one of the greatest ways of getting involved and can actively benefit you for the rest of your life.
7. Volunteer for the campus paper
You don’t need to be studying journalism or media to write something. Writing for your campus paper will keep you engaged, teach you how to research, and help build your online presence. Some campus papers will even have staff available to coach you through your first few articles. It’s also pretty cool to be able to say that you are a journalist!
8. Participate in orientation week as a participant and a volunteer
By participating in orientation week as a first year, you will meet older students who can serve as mentors, answer your questions, and guide you through university. Networking is not restrictive to age. Participating in orientation week as an upper year student will help you meet incoming students while expanding your campus knowledge. As an upper year student, you will also meet other upper year students who are looking to network!
9. Get a job on campus
This will help you learn about the services on your campus so you can make the most of your resources. You are paying for them after all!
A big thing to consider is how you can get out of your comfort zone. When you get out of your comfort zone, you challenge yourself. Allow others to introduce you to activities and initiatives that you may have not normally done. Go to town halls, sit in on lectures, attend seminars etc.
At the very least, one of two things will happen:
a) you will learn something new
b) you will meet someone new
Getting involved may seem difficult and intimidating.
I do promise it will not only be easier than you thought, it will be thoroughly rewarding.
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