Your campus, Your story
Photos and story by Aubry Healy
Getting involved in your college education is a critical part of the overall college experience. Not only do college students join student organizations to add to their resumes, but to make friends, engage in topics they care about and get real-world experience.
Student organizations give students hands-on life lessons that can’t always be taught in the classroom. The leadership and communication skills acquired from student organizations are something students will take with them to every chapter of their lives after graduation.
Central Michigan University has more than 300 registered student organizations (RSOs) to get involved in. Grand Central sat down with some of the student leaders that dedicate their time and energy to RSO’s to reflect on their experiences.
A Mile in our Shoes (AMOS) was created in April of last year as a response to the 2016 United States presidential election. Charde Goins, president of AMOS, said the RSO is meant to be interactive and proactive. It is dedicated to educating the campus on minorities and the struggles and social prejudices they face every day.
“We take social issues and shed light on the lack of opportunity and disadvantages minorities have to face, ” Goins said.
AMOS put on a program for Martin Luther King Jr. Day called “The Tunnel of Oppression,” a simulation placing people in situations that minorities face everyday, such as police brutality, Islamophobia and Transphobia. Goins said, “It’s easier for people to be receptive to it when they actually have to be a part of it and they literally have to take a step in someone else’s shoes.”
“I wanted to lead people and help create something on this campus that will be memorable and will last a lifetime and impact lives.”
Program Board is a university-funded organization lead by students that provides free and low cost programs to both CMU students and the community. Marissa Mattioli, Program Board president, said the organization will have put on 60 events between the fall and spring semesters.
“My main job is to oversee all the executive board members. I have learned a lot of things about problem-solving, working with your peers and working in groups. Learning how to work with a lot of moving parts within your organization [is important]. Since I’m an event management major, I’ve learned a lot about being in the field,” said Mattioli
The American Marketing Association (AMA) is a professional development organization that aims to gain membership in business majors on CMU’s campus. The organization has weekly meetings and brings in companies to speak to members. AMA helps students build their resumes and experience. Sam Reina, AMA president, said the overall goal of the organization is to make connections and get a job through the organization.
“I have learned, being president, that there is going to be a lot to take on at times so you have to keep a level-head and make sure you are organized,” Reina said. “Expect the unexpected.”
Be the Match on Campus at CMU is a student-lead chapter of the national nonprofit organization Be the Match. Alexes Ouderkirk, president of Be the Match on Campus at CMU, said Be the Match is “an opportunity to learn about bone marrow transplants and how students can potentially save a life of somebody who suffers from any bone or blood disease or cancer.” The CMU chapter of the organization registers people for the registry.
“Being president has made me a better leader… It’s cool to see the influence and impact that you can have on somebody’s life, or even on campus,” said Ouderkirk
Central Neuroscience Society (CNS) is an organization of students at CMU that are passionate about the field of Neuroscience. CNS provides its members with speakers to help prepare them for their goals after graduation. Amanda Wright, president of CNS, said the organization works closely with Dr. Dunbar’s Field Neuroscience Institute Research lab on campus. Wright said, “We try to help students get involved in undergraduate research. Our undergraduate research sets CMU apart from other universities. We are able to do hands-on work and hold events.”
A Letter for Better is a service-driven student organization that writes hand-written letters and does random acts of kindness for any group they feel is in need. The group has focused its efforts on campus this year and has written letters to freshmen in dorms, the counseling center, and the Breast Cancer Society. Hayley Dymond, president of A Letter for Better, said the organization is partnering with the Alternative Breaks Program.
The Chinese Students and Scholars Association (CSSA) includes students interested in promoting Chinese culture and understanding in the CMU community. The organization serves as a place where Chinese students can learn and grow together. CSSA plans a gala dinner to celebrate the traditional Chinese Spring Festival.
“A big thing for me is to make a plan. You are the leader. You need to not just do things as a member. Of course you do those things, but you need to make a great plan. This plan is for everyone. It is a cooperation and everyone has an effect. This plan is the soul of your organization. Everyone has a mistake, so you need to consider that and need some skills or abilities, as a leader, to change or adapt your plan,” Congyi Xu, CSSA president said.
College Republicans is a political organization on campus; Sarah Jeffrey, president of College Republicans at CMU, said the organization does conventions and travels all over the state. Jeffrey said members can get out of the experience what they want.
“I’ve learned my leadership style is different than I thought,” said Jeffrey. “I thought I was a very active leader when I actually found out that I am a do-everything-myself and then figure things out after [kind of leader]. I’ve learned to be a better leader through that.”
Alpha Cappa Psi is the largest professional business fraternity at CMU. It is a co-ed fraternity that focuses on professional development and networking with businesses. Analisa Guido, president of Alph Cappa Psi, said the largest event the fraternity puts on is a campus-wide career fair.
The Wesley Foundation is a Faith-based campus outreach program sponsored by the United Methodist denomination. The foundation hosts both Christian and secular events that are open to all students.
The Public Relations Student Society of American (PRSSA) is an organization that provides networking experience for future public relations professionals. Students in PRSSA have the opportunity to travel the country to attend national conferences. Elena Paynard, president of PRSSA at CMU, said the organization sent 19 students to Boston in October. PRSSA hosts the Department of Journalism Internship Fair and has a student-run firm for students to get hands-on experience that gets published.
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