They used to be called the Office of Student Life. But every student has a life. The name didn't say enough about this vibrant group.
Meet the new Office of Student Activities and Involvement.
“We needed a name that really captures what we do,” says Damon Brown, director of the Office of Student Activities and Involvement. “We want students to be involved in activities.”
The tough part will be choosing.
There are nearly 400 registered student organizations on campus. Add in intramural sports, volunteer opportunities and more than 500 campus events a year, and there's never an excuse to be bored or uninvolved.
“There's something for everybody,” Brown says. “Are you a religious person wondering if there's something for you? Absolutely. You can make a faith connection here. If you're from a different cultural background, there's a group for you.”
Students involved in campus activities have a higher GPA than those who don't, he says. He has the statistics to prove it.
The average GPA of students involved in student organizations is a 3.24, Brown says, compared to the CMU average of 2.98.
Students involved on campus are more likely to want to stay.
“When you feel connected and involved, you don't want to leave,” Brown says.
“When you get involved, you grow as a person and as a leader,” he says. “You become part of the CMU experience outside the classroom.
“Students tell us that before they got involved, they were just here,” Brown says. “Then, suddenly, they had friends. They were experiencing things -- Alternative Spring Break. Greek life. It opened so many doors for them.”
Technology makes it too easy to walk across campus with your ear buds in, head down, he says.
“It's the connections that make you feel a part of CMU.”
Too busy with academics? That's no excuse.
Studying biology? Physical therapy? Physics? Social work? Communications? There's a club for that.
“It gives you a chance to take the things you learned in the classroom and apply them,” Brown says.
Freshmen should jump right in.
“It's very important for freshmen to get involved,” Brown says. “It helps the transition to college, the transition to being on your own.”
Freshmen who join Greek life have higher GPAs than the general freshman class, he says.
“You realize you're not in it by yourself,” Brown says. “You make friends, and you help each other through.
“It helps you develop a sense of belonging,” he says. “It helps with homesickness. We lose a lot of freshmen that way. You go through your first semester and if you don't make any connections, you go home, and you don't come back.”
If students join OrgSync, it will keep track of all their activities, volunteer hours, their rise in ranks from club member to club president.
All that will come in handy for resumes.
“Begin to get an idea of what you want to do,” Brown says. “We want students to get fired up.”