How to Get the Most Out of Your Student Organization at College

Get involved with a student organization!

Flickr user Penn State

Whether you are considering joining a student organization or are currently involved in one, it is important to take advantage of the many benefits and opportunities that they have to offer. A common misconception is that it is enough to simply join a student organization without actually doing anything, but that is not true. While they are great resume builders, joining a student org solely for this reason is not only a disservice to the organization, but it is also a disservice to yourself. Below are some tips on how to make the most of your membership.

Apply for an Officer Position

Applying for an officer position not only gives you more of a say in the organization’s activities, but it aids in your development as a young professional. By taking on additional responsibility you will build time management, communication, and leadership skills. Most officer boards consist of a President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer but positions may vary depending on the type of organization. Your specific experience and skill development may depend on the type of position you hold, but regardless, you will learn to work with others and be a part of a team.  

Be Proactive and Participate

Even if you don’t take on an officer position, be sure to participate in the activities that your student org has to offer. Volunteer to work at events and attend all the meetings and socials that you can. However, it is not enough to just attend the events. Make sure that you are present and actively participate in what is going on. Talk to people around you, make new friends and have fun with whatever it is you’re doing!

Network with Peers and Guests

One of the best parts of joining a student organization is meeting new people! Be sure to introduce yourself to fellow members at the first meeting and at any events you attend. If you’re not sure how to break the ice, you can always ask what year in school they are, where they’re from and why they decided to join the student org. Who knows, you just might make a new friend!

Also, if your student organization has any guest speakers, definitely introduce yourself to them as well! Often times, they have great experience, advice and connections to offer which makes for a great addition to your network. If possible, ask for their business card so that you have a way to contact them in the future.

Offer New Ideas

The great thing about a student organization is that it is run by fellow students who value the input of their members. Don’t be afraid to suggest a new event, activity or idea to your officer board. Even if they don’t implement your suggestion, they will appreciate your efforts to better the organization. Better yet, if your suggestion is implemented, you could instill a new tradition or way of doing things and know that you’ve made a positive contribution!

Stay Involved with an Organization

After being in a student organization for even just a few semesters, you may start to feel run down and lose interest. Don’t! Keep going to meetings and participating. Your fellow members are still counting on you to do your part and be an asset to the organization. If you find yourself lacking motivation, be innovative! Try suggesting a new idea or taking on a new task to keep yourself involved. Remember, don’t burn your bridges with the people you meet through these organizations. You never know who you’ll run into down the road!

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