Opinion: Getting involved helps make UI home

There’s lots of student organizations that are great for helping students feel like a valued member of the Hawkeye community.


Joseph Cress

The Old Capitol is seen on Thursday, Nov. 30, 2017.

Taylor Newby, Columnist

Late August in Iowa City brings with it a wave of beginnings — with new students overflowing from residence halls, textbooks purchased by the plentiful at the Hawk Shop, and picnics hosted in the heart of the Pentacrest, life on the University of Iowa campus resumes with both wonder and familiarity.

There are thousands of students mapping lecture halls and memorizing course schedules, falling into the rhythm of fall semester with fresh faces in step alongside them. And like a welcome mat rolled out, the UI community gathers, offering students the opportunity to step into something bigger than themselves — an invitation to become a part of a family.

There are friendships founded on faith, football, and extracurriculars. There are business, dance, and anime clubs. There are organizations for people of Muslim, Catholic, Jewish, Christian, and other faiths — where brothers and sisters of the same belief gather to worship, commune, enjoy fellowship, and pray.

Most clubs and organizations work at making sure people feel as if they have a place and a purpose on the UI campus. For example, one organization that especially strives to make members of the Hawkeye family feel heard, seen, and valued is Active Minds.

“The purpose of Active Minds is to use the student voice to change the conversation about mental health on campus,” according to the website.

It’s a profound thing to experience, and an even more profound thing to be a part of — students stepping onto a campus with roughly 35,000 other faces and managing to find a home in one small corner of this massive, much larger community.

According to UI Campus Labs, there are nearly 300 student organizations registered with the university — which means that at the Student Org Fair, there will be more than 300 student organizations with booths set up all around Hubbard Park.

According to the UI Campus Labs website on the Student Org Fair, “Whether you want to try something new, stay involved with something you did back home, or find other students who share a special interest, you just might find your niche at the Student Org Fair.”

This year’s fair will occur Sept. 11-12 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. in Hubbard Park. The fair is hosted by the university’s Center for Student Involvement and Leadership. The following week, there will be two more fairs hosted by the center, one for culturally based organizations and one for the Student Involvement Fair. On Campus Labs, the two perks offered up are “free food” and “free stuff.”

As the Student Involvement Fair website says, “If you want to find a group of people who share your passion or academic interest, come and check out nearly 200 student organizations.”

Multicultural Get Down is on Sept. 4, 4-6 p.m., and just after that, the Student Involvement Fair will take place from 6-8 p.m. in Hubbard Park. Both serve as opportunities for students to rally and find a common community.

Whether through a community that shares in culture, faith, passions, or hobbies, the UI strives to make certain that there is a place for every person on the campus.

Columns reflect the opinions of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Editorial Board, The Daily Iowan, or other organizations in which the author may be involved.