For most college students, student organizations can be a ‘home away from home,’ and with more than 160 active student organizations at the University, students have more than their fair share to choose from.
Josh Ellis, 19, a second-year business administration student from Indianapolis, is the corresponding secretary of Progressive Black Men, Inc., a community service organization built on brotherhood, and is also involved in three other student organizations.
He said his reason for joining these organizations is a sort of addiction.
“Once you join the first one, you just keep moving to others,” Ellis said. “You just keep joining until your schedule gets filled.”
However, Ellis said he once had to drop a class because of the time the organizations required.
His GPA suffered as it went from a 3.7 to a 3.27, but according to him, that was because of “bad time management.” As for being involved in multiple student organizations, Ellis believes the positives far outweigh the negatives.
Joining different groups has afforded him the opportunity to meet people and create his own network.
“Join as many as you want to, as many as you can,” he said. “You just need to be responsible.”
Other students echo this sentiment.
Austin Dorsey, a freshman political science student from Jacksonville, also believes students should become involved while managing their time responsibly.
“Just plan your time well,” he said. “If you have a meeting at seven, study for your classes before that.”
Dorsey, who ran for freshman president in fall 2006 and is a member of numerous student organizations, believes his involvement in various organizations helped him to reach out to people he never would have met if he was not a member.
“I got to network and meet people that I needed to know, people who provided me with great advice,” Dorsey said. “It just makes you more aware of what’s going on in the University.”
According to the director of the Office of Student Union Activities, Lake Buggs, approximately “four out of 10 students are involved in some sort of student organization on campus.”
Buggs said she sees this sort of participation as vital to student life on a whole, as it provides students with a sort of satisfaction knowing that they are a part of something.
“Ninety percent of what you learn, you learn outside of class,” Buggs said, referring to a study she had read on the importance of student organizations.
As for advising students to limit the amount of organizations they become involved in, Buggs was against it.
“I wouldn’t have just a number,” she said, “That’s shortsighted.”
The OSUA director, who was involved herself in more than five student organizations while attending college, explained that it was simply a matter of good time management and the student’s level of commitment to studying.
She also spoke of students choosing organizations for the wrong reasons.
“Everyone one has to do what’s comfortable to them, most students lose sight of that,” Buggs said.
However, students like Nicole Skeete, 19, a sophomore health care management student from Orlando, has not lost sight of her own personal goals and has chosen her organization based on her goals.
Skeete, a member of Sistuhs, Inc., and other organizations, said the organizations that she’s involved in are a part of who she is.
“I like to volunteer, and I like helping younger students,” Skeete said. “Anything to help them to do better.”
That was her main reason for becoming a mentor. She also likes to dance and appreciates the sisterhood and bonding that Sistuhs, Inc. provides.
However, she also admitted that if it wasn’t for her good time management skills, she might have failed many times simply because the various organizations required so much involvement.
And as one of the resident advisers for McGuinn Hall, she doesn’t have a lot of time to do much of anything else.
“I’d rather get less sleep than bad grades,” she said.
Skeete said lack of sleep does not deter her from performing her duties to the best of her abilities.
She feels it prepares college students for what comes after they graduate.
“When you think about it, it helps you prepare for life,” she said. “You’re gonna have kids and a job and other responsibilities.”