Campus clubs evoke many reactions among students. The Candor’s Perspectives Editor Dielle Ochotorena and Staff Writer Andrew Tran debate the merits and challenges of these organizations:
It’s a lot of work to be committed to a club. The majority of students are commuters at Benedictine University so joining a club may derail the schedules we’ve personally set up for ourselves. Yes, everyone has classes, everyone has a unique family dynamic, some work and others don’t, some of us like to socialize and sometimes a club simply doesn’t work with our schedules.
Personally, attending clubs are a hassle for me, I work in the afternoons so my classes can’t run too late in order for me to work and so my advisors suggest to stack my classes to make the most of my day and for me to still have time to work in the afternoons. If a club meets for the semester at 10 am every other week or twice a month, and I have a 10 am class that meets MWF of that semester, as a Psychology Major I would rather go to a class I’m paying thousands of dollars to attend than a club that meets half a month.
I know a rebuttal for that would be, “Well why don’t you just go to the fundraisers? Or ditch class once in a while to attend? Everyone has ditched at least once!” But I’m paying to attend college, it doesn’t make sense for me, who’s defining factor of attending BenU was the scholarship I earned and covers more than half my tuition, to spend my time in a club meeting when I could be in class or studying for an exam. My grades matter more than joining a club or activity, I simply can’t afford to waste my time to be at a club meeting when I can be studying for classes or working.
Those are my reasons why I don’t join many clubs.
Being an Accounting Major, I have a different class load than others on campus. I take most of my difficult classes at the beginning while taking a couple of higher level classes before it levels out at the end of junior year. So I have the time to participate in clubs and go to school events. I’m someone who finds the time to attend various campus events whenever the opportunity presents itself. A lot of the time, I would stop over and inquire about an event and partake in any way I can. However, I began to notice certain aspects about clubs which prompted to me ponder about student engagement on campus. Are clubs dying out? Are many people not attending campus events? If so, then why?
I love being involved on campus; it is something that always excited me whenever I can attend a campus event because a few of these interactions have helped with expanding my worldview. For example, I attended a UNICEF event that talked about hunger, an accounting meeting explaining what it takes to earn an accounting job, and an India Night. These campus events have been the molding experiences for attending a university.
As a freshman, I wanted to improve my method of interacting with others; therefore, I went out to various campus events and clubs to learn about different cultures and meet new people. This inadvertently helped me be more extroverted. At the end of freshman year, I was prepared to do the same and attend different events for the rest of my years at Benedictine. However, something had changed. I realized that I have to focus on my career as well and prepare for the working world. This change caused me to establish a schedule to manage my time effectively. This schedule would always be filled with something to do and I realized that I cannot go to every single event on campus because of time commitments to other activities.
This leads to an issue that the university may have to handle in the long-run in regard to students. Engaging older students becomes a very difficult task to carry out. The novelty of joining clubs dies out as the years go on and it takes more than free food or things to get students involved. On one part, many students do not possess the time to go to every single campus event. Most students take up a part-time job outside of campus to make income for covering tuition or earning valuable work experience. In hand with that, some students have to focus on attending classes for their major and some of these classes are very time-demanding. That means they either have to choose between attending a club or studying extra for exams that will directly influence their grades. For most, passing classes are more important than going to a club meeting.
What happens if there are fewer clubs available for students? There would be less student-university engagement, no one would want to spend time on campus aside from going to classes and mooching off the free wifi. If Student Senate has fewer members, we students have less of a voice regarding university issues that can impact us. Without each student having a niche, a hobby or a group to belong to, university just becomes a place to go to to learn and no longer a place where we can expand our interests and make important connections that can help us later in life. It would be a shame to see some student organizations fail because they have been organized by university alumni who chose to establish clubs out of their own free time and resources. It would not do these people justice by losing student engagement.