And I don’t mean in one of those intrinsic value, make-you-feel-good kind of ways. Getting involved on campus has gotten me so much swag, I couldn’t even total it. It wasn’t until I joined Student Government Association my sophomore year that I began to see the true (monetary) value of being involved.
Now, they don’t just hand out dollar bills when you join an organization, but I can try and explain to you where the money’s at. When school first starts, there’s the activities fair, which should be called the day-when-you-stuff-your-pockets-with-candy. You also get to meet a lot of passionate, wonderful people. After that comes the month of free pizza- student organizations love to give away pizza to new students at meetings. Do you think you might possibly, in any way, maybe want to be part of the math and computer science club? Go to the interest meeting! Have you ever thought about being a member of the residence hall association? Interest meeting! If it isn’t your thing, at least you got a free meal for your time.. And there are more organizations for you to try.
I can say from experience that your continued involvement will compound interest on your initial invested dedication. The longer you’re in, the more chances there are and the more you profit. For me, being very involved in just two of my chosen many organizations have given me:
- 1 free week-long trip to Washington D.C. for a policy conference
- 1 free four-day trip to Grand Rapids, Michigan for a student activities conference
- 2 free four-day trips to Jefferson City, Missouri for the Governor’s Student Leadership Forums
- 3 SGA Executive Board summer retreats to Lake Williamson, Illinois
- 2 SGA Senator Retreats to Cedarcreek, Missouri
- 2 SGA Executive Board winter training sessions to Dave & Buster’s
- 2 years worth of monthly stipends for being SGA president
- 2 full weeks without having to buy groceries during interviews for search committee’s week of lunch and dinner interviews
- 1 year of pay for being newspaper editor
And those don’t include:
- Innumerable free lunches
- Organization t-shirts and sweatshirts
- Daily trips to my advisor’s candy bucket
- An office to hang out in (with free printing and snacks)
- Opportunities to network with future employers
- A supportive community of fellow leaders
- Advisors who become mentors (and sometime personal counselors)
- Great resume boosters
Okay, maybe some of those are intrinsic rewards, but when you get down to it, it is hard to separate the good from the good. What I’m trying to say is- just get involved in your college! The more you give back to your college, the more your college can and will give back to you.
Disclaimer: Student activities are known to change your life completely. Improved happiness, leadership and communication skills, as well as lifelong friendships are common side-effects. They are also known to make you rationally change your career path to want a master’s degree in Higher Education Administration after four years in Communication Studies.