With over 400 student organizations on campus, almost 50 Greek life chapters and enough intramural and club sports teams – including famed Quidditch, dodgeball and a new Irish Step Team – there seem to be a truly endless number of opportunities for students from all walks of life to get involved in at Miami. Almost 85 percent of Miami students are involved in student organizations including club sports and Greek life – a huge percentage compared to other universities.
Joining organizations, sports and Greek life are where most students make life-long friendships, develop critical leadership and organizational skills, bump up their resume, and, of course, explore relevant interests and passions. Getting involved at Miami may have long-term effects for after graduation, especially joining a club or organization that fits into students’ aspiring career goals.
An employer survey from the Association of American Colleges and Universities found that 93 percent of employers said a demonstrated capacity to think critically, communicate clearly and solve complex problems is more important than a job candidate’s undergraduate degree. The same survey also found that 95 percent of employers believe it is important that new hires demonstrate ethical judgment and integrity, intercultural skills and the capacity for new learning. These are skills that can be developed within four years at Miami with the help of student organizations. Assistant Director of Student Activities Laura Whitmire also sees the same advantages getting involved offers students for after graduation.
“We are an engaged university, we don’t have to fight for students to get involved – they want to do this. They want to be doing things outside of the classroom. I think that’s why Miami has such a success rate for getting students internships during and after college. They can work with others because of their involvement in student organizations, whether it’s through relevant programs or Greek Life. These are the times where they develop confidence and leadership skills,” Whitmire said.
For those 15 percent of students at Miami still not involved in organizations, it is never too late to join one. Mega Fair is this Sunday at Millet Hall from 1 to 4 p.m., and provides students the chance to get to know Miami’s 400 student organizations, check out what may interest them, and sign up to get involved. The Miami Student Editorial board hopes students of all years and backgrounds will take the time to explore Mega Fair and see what getting involved outside of the classroom can offer their college experience.
Sally Stearns, Editor-In-Chief of UP Fashion Magazine on Miami’s campus, remembers how Mega Fair helped her pursue her love for fashion, media, and magazines.
“I wasn’t even aware of UP until I attended Mega Fair as a first year. Now I have been in it for four years and it has significantly impacted my college experience. I love being apart of something on campus that others are also passionate about. My position there has also given me career experience and will allow me to transition into a job after I graduate,” Stearns said.
Apart from gaining career experience and leadership roles, obviously playing some intense rounds of Broomball at the Goggin or running around tossing the pig skin during flag football in the beautiful fall months at Miami are always great stress relievers and a way to take a break from homework and class.
According to Rebecca Donatelle’s textbook “My Health: An Outcomes Approach” 28 percent of college students reported that stress negatively affected their individual academic performance. Donatelle believes one of the main forms of stress management to combat mental and emotional stress is by exercising regularly. Going to the REC Center may not be enough for some, but signing up for a commitment once a week with a soccer league or a tennis tournament at Miami could help beat the stress of a college life. According to Donatelle, exercise burns off stress hormones by directing them toward their intended metabolic function and can combat stress by rising endorphin levels, which elevate the mood. So if you’re more into sports and not so much into a Spanish or Irish Step Dancing group, there are still benefits to getting involved in these organizations (blame it on trying to reduce stress to get better grades if you want!)
Miami departments and student organizations have been offering students countless opportunities to study abroad, apply for internships and to get involved outside of the classroom. Speeches and lectures featured at Miami are always abundant and of amazing quality to those in interested fields of study, and most are brought to campus by student organizations. Sometimes students tend to turn on the snooze button of their tired alarm clocks and not fully appreciate these opportunities until the end of college. As students being presented with all of these opportunities in four years, we need to learn which ones to take and which ones to pursue further. Getting good grades isn’t always the key to getting a good job, even though it is crucial to college. The board encourages all students to expand their knowledge outside of the classroom and to take on these exciting opportunities from student organizations and relevant departments.
Miami is unique in its undergraduate experience because it allows you to become whoever you want to be and to follow whatever passions suit you, and student organizations can help along this amazing journey.
“I think people have to choose their own college adventure, and I think some people completely change because of who they involve themselves with, and the impact they make while they are here,” Whitmire said.