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Iowa State Daily

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Iowa State Daily

Beyond the classroom: The power of student organizations

Beyond+the+classroom%3A+The+power+of+student+organizations

Iowa State University is home to over 30,000 students disintegrated across an array of majors and disciplines. For many students, navigating this multitude of faces and finding their place on campus can provide a daunting and often overwhelming challenge. Finding their crowd and making those first few connections is an essential component of a smooth for incoming students transitioning into college life.

Clubs and organizations can play a vital role in helping students get acclimated to campus and to find like-minded individuals. In addition to clubs and organizations acting as spaces for students to meet new people, many provide career experiences that can serve as great resume boosters. With an a range of over 800 organizations on campus, there is plenty of variety for every student to explore and become involved with.

Rachel Scaliatine, a senior in psychology, is the president of the Asexual and Aromantic Alliance. The organization helps students feel comfortable with their identity and helps educate members on the topic of asexuality. Scaliatine emphasized the importance of clubs on campus and the ability they have to help students find their place.

“It’s really a space for people of all types of different backgrounds to feel safe and share experiences with each other,” Scaliatine said. “It’s also a place for those who might be questioning their identity to learn and understand their feelings.”

After disbanding in 2020 following many of its members graduating, Scaliantine was able to reform the organization and bring it back for students on campus. Although Scaliatine acknowledged that the organization has a small target audience, she stated that the rebranding of the club has received tremendous support as it continues to get its feet back on the ground.

“I encourage everyone to stop in for a meeting, just being a part of it is really a form of advocacy in itself,” Scaliatine said.

Throughout Iowa State’s wide selection of clubs and organizations, there is truly something for everyone – even if your hobby involves jumping out of planes at 10,000 feet in the air. The Iowa State Skydiving Club provides an opportunity for students to gain experience and find recreation in skydiving while promoting high standards of safety and training. 

“It’s really a blast, and I’ve met a lot of my really good friends through it,” Zachary Hirst, a senior in cyber security engineering and public relations chair of Skydiving Club said. 

The Iowa State Skydiving Club participates in a variety of activities including safety training and competitions across the country. Competitions range from landing accuracy to team formations. Last year, the club traveled to North Carolina to compete in the USPA National Collegiate Skydiving Championships.

While some organizations exist purely for fun, others help students develop and grow their own personal beliefs. Adventist Christian Fellowship (ACF) is a recognized student organization at Iowa State and is supported by local Seventh-day Adventist churches. Its purpose is to provide opportunities for young adults to enjoy Christian fellowship, Bible study and a variety of other fun recreational activities. All individuals including undergraduates, graduate students and outside community members are welcome to join.

“It’s a great break from everyday work,” Esther Kim, a graduate student studying psychology said. “It’s very social and provides a time for you to just get away and improve your mental health.”

Kim is entering her third year with ACF and expressed that she encourages students to get involved in any sort of organization during their time at Iowa State. One of Kim’s favorite memories as a part of ACF was last year’s club camping trip in Nevada when a storm rolled through and made quite the experience for members.

Through student organizations, students have the ability to meet a wide range of students from an array of majors, including those they might not have been otherwise exposed to. 

“I’ve been able to meet so many new people,” Max Comp, president of the Ames Anime Club, said. “Through Anime Club, I’ve had the opportunity to meet people from countries I’ve only read about in books.”

Another major benefit of joining student organizations is the potential for career development opportunities. Several of Iowa State’s degree programs also host clubs for students to get more involved and develop career skills. 

“You can really boost your resume through student organizations,” Cade Hogan, a junior in mechanical engineering said. “It looks great to employers and adds more to your applications than just your GPA.”

The Theme Park Entertainment Group is an organization dedicated to the celebration and education of attractions and the themed entertainment industry. It emphasizes engineering and design professional development. 

“It’s a great career experience and I’ve met some of my best friends at Iowa State through it,” Jordan Penaluna, a sophomore in aerospace engineering, said. “Some of my favorite memories are just hanging out with everyone at Raising Cane’s and trying to create our plans.

In addition to taking trips to visit various theme parks across the country, the group competes in competitions in which teams are required to build functioning models of roller coasters that have the ability to function for six hours or more.

Whether you’re interested in roller coasters, anime or anything in between, student organizations can provide students with a valuable platform to find their place on campus, connect with like-minded individuals and develop a sense of community on campus. Getting involved can enrich a student’s college experience and prepare them for their future career endeavors.

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