Regardless of the season, whether it is Fall, Winter, Summer or Spring, arriving on campus for the first time as a Michigan student can be daunting. Not to mention the fact that you are far away from home, and know only a few people, if not none.
Well, it depends on you how you want to shape your Michigan experience. Do you want to keep feeling the way you feel as you first step foot on campus (the I-don’t-know-what-I-got-myself-into feeling), or do you desire to have an exhilarating and rewarding time at THE best university in the nation, around people you care about that have similar interests as you? The latter seems more fun, does it not?
One bull’s-eye way of ensuring that you have a fun time is through getting involved on campus. The University of Michigan is proud to have over 1,500 student-run organizations and programs on campus. That means each and every single one of you will find a niche, an organization or a movement you are interested in. From feeding squirrels (Michigan Squirrels Club) to joining a community service fraternity (Alpha Phi Omega), Michigan has it all!
As Michigan students, we, more often than not, want to be involved and stay involved. As an example, I am a part of a couple organizations and councils, including the International Center Student Council, GlobeMed at the University of Michigan, Filipino American Student Association, Michigan International Students Society, and a few more. Yes, I’m a part of a lot. But that is who I am as a person. You have complete agency on what you want to do with your time here. If you’re interested in politics, there’s the Student Government. If you’re a pre-something or a pro-something: pre-health, pre-law, pro-clean energy or pro-diversity, you’re essentially covered.
The big question is, how do we find out about what club we’re interested in? Festifall and Winterfest are the two biggest pitching events of all organizations on campus. These are student organization fairs where clubs and organizations talk to students about what they are all about, sell themselves to student, and give out free goodies! I confess to being a little overzealous during these events as I sign up for like 50 clubs, partly due to the candy and pens they give out. It’s always a great time, so I do encourage going to these events every semester, so that you get to see the old and the new. Get out there, walk around, listen. Who knows, you might discover a club you’ve never heard of before, and end up loving it because it makes your experience at Michigan so much better!
The biggest online resource for all the organizations is Maize Pages, which is a list of all registered clubs and organizations. You can filter things you are interested in, for a narrower search, and you can see all that may fit you as a person. There is also the Center for Campus Involvement which ultimately helps students find opportunities and interests, to make for a more enriching time at the University of Michigan.
If you, however, decide that you want your own group with your friends, because your passion lies in something that has not been brought up before, you are more than welcome to create your own organization! Nothing is stopping you - brainstorm ideas, formulate an organization model, recruit friends and friends of friends, and go ahead and make your own club! Again, this all depends on you.
Make your mark. Find your niche by getting involved on campus. Join 1 or 10 organizations - whatever you prefer. Every day is a day you could spend doing something you are inherently interested in, with people that are interested in that too. You are a part of a community proud to be the Leaders and Best, where innovation and involvement are both encouraged. So I urge you be involved, stay involved, and discover what you’re interested in. Have the best time at Michigan, good luck and go blue forever.
Written by Wynona Bautista