Opinion | COVID-19 has shown how UI student organizations are important

Student organizations have many benefits, and they have been proven invaluable during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Katie Goodale/The Daily Iowan

The Old Capitol building is seen on March, 6, 2021.

Peter Anders, Opinions Contributor

The University of Iowa has well over 200 student organizations and activities to take part in, and students have plenty of opportunities to socialize with one another.

This would be the case during a normal school semester.  However, the COVID-19 pandemic has drastically changed student organizations’ operations. Some clubs have been forced to go on hiatus, others have been forced to change their structure to the point where challenges made it difficult to function.

Many student organizations, such as the UI Muslim Student Association had to host all of their meetings and operations entirely online throughout the fall 2020 semester.

Students looking at participating in clubs going forward should take advantage — not for granted.

The clubs that have a huge physical in-person aspect have had to adapt the hard way. For example, Dance Marathon, one of the most popular extracurricular activities on campus, lost one of its biggest draws by hosting the 24-hour Big Event online.

College students are busy. They are balancing social lives, jobs, academics, and family all at once. Not all of them have the time or the energy to take on extracurricular activities and clubs on top of those. Some students may even think participating in student organizations may seem like a waste of time.

However, when bars were closed or at a very limited capacity, clubs were what students were left with in terms of social opportunities. But it is clear that what made clubs special in the first place was their ability to have students interact with each other. Virtual interactions lose the human aspect that being face to face offers. The intimacy is no longer there.

You never really know what you have until it is taken away from you. Students could be forgiven for having taken the clubs on campus for granted and not participating in them before the pandemic. But when clubs eventually resume in some form of their old capacity, students would be foolish to take them for granted again.

There is more to gain from clubs than even purely social experiences. Students who are involved tend to do better academically, have an opportunity to build their skillsets, learn to manage their time, and learn how to work with other students, among many other positives.

Campus organizations are a great opportunity to meet students and make friends and overall have fun, just as much as any party or club setting. Don’t take the opportunities extracurriculars offer for granted. As clearly shown during the pandemic, you’ll miss them when they are no longer an option or can no longer be held in the same way they are used to.

School should come first, but it is silly for students to write off the opportunities clubs offer and can bring them going forward. They should at least give them a try, because in a world dealing with the after-effects of COVID-19, it is now clear how valuable these clubs are to the UI student experience.

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.