“We’re not just here for school,” said Irish Kulas, freshman health sciences major from Richmond.
Her feelings, like most other Dukes’, are the whole reason for joining clubs on campus. But there’s so many, so how do students know which ones to join? And how do established clubs get more members?
Student Org Night, held on the evening of September 4 and repeated at the beginning of every semester, is the only opportunity students have to see many of the extensive list of JMU’s clubs. Freshmen, transfer students, and others who may be looking for organizations to join flocked to Hillside Field last Tuesday just for this.
The field was filled with two large open spaces surrounded by trifold boards and posters advertising each club. Current members were stationed by their tables, ready to pass out flyers and approach interested students about joining. A DJ was also there to share in the excitement and entertain everyone there at the edge of the lawn by TDU. By 20 minutes into the event, the two rows were swarming with eager students and welcoming members. If attendees could pull themselves away for a second, there was also food on both sides TDU’s entrance including chips and cupcakes!
While talking to everyone about these new opportunities may be fun, it’s also an extremely important event for both students looking to get more involved and clubs looking to expand their member base.
Students here want to get more involved, make more friends, and uniquely prepare themselves for the future. The possibilities for what Dukes want to do in their free-time is endless too; they want to join clubs about community service, leadership, fun activities, and everything in-between. It’s almost overwhelming to see the extensive amount of clubs at Student Org Night, so no one wants to look for them in an even longer list online.
“It’s huge; I went to Student Org Night actively looking for clubs even until my junior year,” said Marissa Fornaro, senior communications major and treasurer of Valley Ambassadors.
Now that she’s found her place at JMU, its purpose changed from looking for clubs to promoting hers, a club supported by the Admissions Board and based on educating local high school students about post-high school career and education paths. Fornaro says Student Org Night is especially important now because all of the current exec members will be graduating this year.
“That’s where we get most of our members,” said Dominique Lockwood, senior biology major and president of the Environmental Management Club.
From Lockwood’s club about sustainability and having an impact in their daily lives and around Harrisonburg, to athletic team-building clubs like the Rowing Club, Student Org Night is essential to their development. Students need to feel at home on campus, and clubs need members to keep their homes alive. So if you missed this semester’s, keep an eye out for another chance join in for January’s!