If there are 168 hours in a week and you’re in class for less than 20, how are you going to spend the rest? Everyone’s best advice is, get involved. Sports, service, religious, creative, international, professional, Greek—WVU has more than 450 student organizations of all kinds.
Largest is always the sports fan club Mountaineer Maniacs. “That attracts a lot of students—thousands, would be fair to say,” says Division of Student Life spokesman Jason Broadwater. The Maniacs organize student ticketing for home games, and they’re the largest cheering section at home football, basketball, and soccer games. They also set up watch parties as well as buses to some away games.
Professional clubs like the Society of Professional Journalists or the American Institute of Chemical Engineers are popular, Broadwater says. Cultural organizations for international students and for U.S. students who identify with specific cultural groups are good places to meet others with similar backgrounds. A long list of religious organizations offer fellowship to students of various faiths.
Among the dozens of service groups is MountaineerTHON, which raises money for WVU Medicine Children’s. “Their signature event is a dance-a-thon where they’re dancing for eight hours, and all the money they raise goes to pediatric cancer,” Broadwater says. A newer club is the Food Recovery Network, which aggregates recovered food from WVU dining halls and local farms and restaurants and distributes to local charities.
Check out the list of student organizations online or stop by the Office of Student Engagement and Leadership on the second floor of the Mountainlair to find out what’s happening. If there’s no club doing what you want to do, start one. “Students can complete a petition form online,” says Kim Harrison, assistant director of Student Engagement and Leadership. “We ask them to have eight members, to encourage sustainability—we want to see them flourish and grow and be passed on from year to year. They need an on-campus advisor, a faculty or staff member who will mentor them through the growing process. And they’ll need to submit a constitution, some guiding principles for their organization.”
Don’t wait until junior or senior year to get involved, Broadwater advises. “It’s fun, but there really is also that resume building and networking—a career development aspect. It’s important for students to think about tht from day one. It shows employers a lot about their character, leadership, and self-direction.” A September 5 student organization fair in the Mountainlair will be a good place to get started on that.