By NADIA WILLIAMS
OPINION- At Salisbury University, involved students are prepared students.
A hallmark of the college experience is getting involved. Whether they have the urge to discover more about themselves, or they want to build on skills they already have, participating in clubs is the typical starting point for students.
For Tricia Garvey Smith, director of the Center for Student Involvement and Leadership (CSIL), participating in extracurriculars allows students to unwind while crafting leadership qualities.
Garvey-Smith said some students join clubs to find those with common interests but end up learning more about themselves in the process.
“As they get more and more involved, develop a passion, grow in an area they hadn’t experienced before, their mind is open to new experiences, new activities,” Garvey-Smith said.
The Center of Student Involvement and Leadership (CSIL) strives to get all students engaged with their events, but typically target new and transfer students who don’t have any extracurricular involvement.
Some major events include Welcome Week, a series of events welcoming the students back at the beginning of each semester, GullFest which is a large concert held every spring, the Student Activities Fair every semester, as well as homecoming activities which also turns out to be a week of events.
The majority of Salisbury’s recognized clubs and organizations are not part of CSIL’s umbrella, but CSIL makes use of social media and its large-scale events to promote their clubs.
“The CSIL send out a daily email advertising for clubs and organizations and they add all events for any club/student organization or fraternity/sorority to our student life calendar…We advertise heavily in the residence halls, so hopefully, who we really want to grab from the get-go are the freshmen living on campus,” Garvey-Smith said.
Students grow as individuals with club involvement, while learning how to handle responsibility. With the introduction of the Involved @ SU platform last semester, Garvey-Smith wanted a hub for all organizations to meet and collaborate.
“It’s like a Facebook for clubs and organizations,” Garvey-Smith said.
Involved @ SU allows students to take responsibility for their requirements while managing their roster, and making their events known to other organizations and those looking to get involved.
The tracking requirements in Involved @ SU can be compiled and used as a co-curricular transcript that students can use alongside their academic transcripts when applying for graduate school and jobs.
Some critics see CSIL requirements for clubs and organizations as either annoying or unnecessary, but Garvey-Smith says it’s a reflection of real-world responsibility students will eventually have to encounter.
Garvey-Smith said everything that’s done in Student Activities is teaching.
“Ultimately, in life, there are certain rules we have to follow,” Garvey-Smith said. There are policies at work, there are policies at our kid’s school, with taxes and everything you do in life. This is the starting point of that.”
Attending forums, participating in community service and campus events are the only times some students participate in campus life and the greater Salisbury community.
A representative from every organization goes to the forum to hear about announcements and goals from the Student Government Association (SGA) and for the SGA to hear about student needs.
It is clear that involved students are prepared students because of the skills they gain and the experiences they share with like-minded people.