OPINION: Student involvement is great, to an extent


Tanat Maichan

FROM THE FILES: Build-A-Friend is sponsored by SAC. It is a event where students get a chance to build their own stuffed animals.

There are 272 registered organizations on campus. From Greek Life, which has a number of organizations inside itself, to a club where you can get your pilot’s license, to any number of organizations related to specific fields of study, there’s a wide variety of activities to participate at Wichita State.

What’s great about the variety of ways to get involved is that students can really search to find a group that they feel matches them best. They can have a group of people that they regularly interact with outside of classes, and they can choose to take on responsibilities that can provide valuable experience and even be relevant when they look for a career.

Students can even create their own organizations fairly easily if they feel that no other group has what they’re specifically looking for.

Involvement opportunities truly are one of the best things about WSU’s campus. On any given day, students can expect to see any number of these groups tabling in the RSC to spread the word to potential new members. They host events all over campus, be it professional development opportunities, volunteer work, cultural events, or just something fun that students can enjoy.

On top of that, Student Involvement provides many outlets for students to relax and decompress with like-minded peers after hours of class and homework. As someone who’s been involved with several different organizations myself, I can attest that some of my favorite college days have been the ones where I get to meet with other group members, learn about students in other majors, and interact with students I might otherwise never get a chance to meet.

However, I do have some advice to students who are looking to get involved in some way, as well as for students who are currently involved:

  • Don’t stay if you don’t like it: Student involvement is not some binding commitment. If you do not feel like a student group fully matches your interests or values, then leave. This includes Greek life. Not everyone will benefit in the same way from these groups, and staying in longer than you should will only increase the possibility of resenting the organization.
  • Don’t let your grades and wellbeing suffer: many students groups will offer the opportunities for study sessions, which should be taken advantage of. However, spending too much time with these organizations can potentially take time away from studying for that next test. Student involvement is just one facet to a well-rounded student. Time should also be allotted for hobbies, exercise, spending time with friends and family, and any other activities that can benefit mental health.
  • Don’t do much unpaid work: Some student groups do a lot of work that can be a base for students to develop some practical skills that they might not be able to do in class. While this can be invaluable during the career-hunt, it can also be detrimental to current career progress. Spending a lot of time and energy in student organizations can take you away from currently available jobs on-and-off campus that will pay you for doing similar work. A reference from a supervisor looks a lot better than a reference from a fellow student.
  • Lastly, always make sure to enjoy the company and environment. There are few ways to get similarly involved after graduation, so this can be seen as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Don’t let it go to waste.