Involvement is a must

Mary-Kate Burkert

Getting involved is a necessity to making your college experience the best, and with more than 750 student and campus clubs and organizations, it is a breeze for any student to find their niche at Iowa State.

Meetings and events seem to constantly be taking place on the ISU campus, and student leaders are eager for new faces to get involved and participate.

“One of the best ways [to get involved] is to talk with representatives of the organizations you are considering getting involved in,” said Jamison Arends, general co-director of Dance Marathon 2012, and junior in supply chain management. “ClubFest is an excellent opportunity to talk directly with representatives and get a feel for what a group does.”

ClubFest is an event that allows students to check out more than 200 clubs and organizations. It occurs Sept. 7, 2011, and again in January in the Great Hall of the Memorial Union.

Another way to get involved is visiting This is the database that contains all of the official information for all student organizations on campus.

For browsing, the organizations are shown in 24 diverse categories, or you can search for a specific organization or search by keyword.

Another option would be to call, email, or stop by the Student Activities Center located in the East Student Office Space in the Memorial Union. Here you can learn about a variety of opportunities including leadership and service programs, arts and entertainment, and ISU Afterdark.

Nate Dobbels, speaker of the senate for the Government of the Student Body, and senior in agriculture and life sciences education, said that getting involved “is the most rewarding thing any student can do on campus. Students have the opportunity to create friendships, start networking, learn numerous things outside of the classroom and ultimately find opportunities to create a foundation for future careers.”

“Getting involved offers the chance to try new things, work on current skills, and have a chance to make our campus a better place to live, learn, and prepare for the future.”

Jared Knight, vice president of GSB, concurred with Dobbels when he said, “The sheer number and diversity of organizations make our clubs great. There is something for everyone and it’s so easy to get involved.”

“There are so many ways that joining a club can help you. If you’re a first-year student, it’s a great way to make friends; if you’re a graduating senior, it’s a great way to network with professionals. Whether on the way in or on the way out, the best thing a student can do is to get involved.”

If you don’t find something of interest or have a fresh, new idea for a club or organization, it isn’t difficult to make that idea a reality. 

“Iowa State University’s campus is composed of students passionate about their causes and purpose. If you don’t find what you’re looking for you can propose a club,” said George Micalone, director of student activities and assistant director of the Memorial Union.

A student organization should contribute to students’ personal development and focus on a particular topic of interest. The membership must be at least 80 percent ISU students, and the officers must be students as well.

Non-students can partake in activities as nonvoting members. You can also get involved by joining the Student Organization Recognition Board which does the reviewing and recognizing of new organizations.

“Over 4,000 individual students hold a leadership position in a club or organization, and more than 1,000 hold more than positions in two or more clubs,” Micalone said. “If you’re interested at all, give it a try. See where it takes you.”

“Getting involved is the quickest way to form a supportive community at Iowa State, especially in your first year. The students you meet in your first year might just continue on with the same clubs or organizations into your last year, which is a pretty neat aspect to getting involved,” Arends said. “The stuff you learn outside of the classroom is just as important as inside. It is practical experience and creates situations for applied problem solving.”

“Don’t just join a club, get involved in it! You do not have to hold a leadership position to make a difference, and if you do hold a position, you will have the opportunity to make an even bigger difference,” Arends said.