Student Organizations Make an Impact

Student organizations at CaneFest 2016.

By Nosa James

Student organizations at CaneFest 2016.

Student Organizations Make an Impact

By Nosa James
UM students and staff share thoughts on how student organizations better student life on campus and themselves.

Christa Anderson has been active in student life and works to enhance diversity and inclusion through her participation in clubs.

“My entire UM experience has been sculpted and shaped by my involvement in clubs,” explained Anderson, who serves as vice president of the National Association of Black Accountants, vice chair and treasurer of the Unity Round Table, and chair of the Black Student Concerns Working Group. Christa Anderson

The University of Miami’s 280 clubs, fraternities and sororities allow students like Anderson, who is a senior majoring in accounting and minoring in Africana studies and music business, the opportunity to build leadership and networking skills, advance the campus community and find job opportunities.

Student organizations range from club sports that compete nationwide, to poetry clubs and professional fraternities. The University also offers niche clubs like the Scuba Club, where students have the opportunity to dive in the Florida Keys and Upup, an organization that helps train service dogs.

Michael Baumhardt, associate director of student life and student organizations, believes that joining clubs is essential to getting the most out of college because it provides a way for students to connect with friends, especially ones that are far from home.

“Student organizations allow students to come together around a common topic,” said Baumhardt.

His department advises most student organizations and places a large emphasis on leadership development and building soft skills or people skills.

“Students have the opportunity to take the skills they are learning in the classroom and directly apply them to their club,” Baumhardt continued.

Participation in clubs, he said, also can supplement the skills students may not be learning in the classroom.

Bilah Abdul-Jalaal, a senior majoring in exercise physiology and psychology along with minoring in Spanish and Sports Medicine, is a testament to Baumhardt’s statement. Abdul-Jalaal feels that time management and maturity are attributes he has learned while leading the club basketball team. 

Bilah Abdul-JalaalAbdul-Jaalal also said that his participation in clubs has helped him understand how to manage people, delegate responsibility, and handle administrative duties. “I am able to see things from a business perspective,” he said.

Networking is also another important aspect of student life.

Abdul-Jalaal, who is president of the club basketball team, a member of Brothers Overcoming Negativity and Destruction, and a brother of Kappa Alpha Psi, found an internship for the summer of 2017 through networking and his affiliation with Kappa Alpha Psi. Anderson’s involvement in black accountants club also has led her to multiple job leads with separate accounting firms.

There are numerous benefits to joining student organizations besides potential job opportunities, including networking, community engagement, and developing leadership skills.

As Anderson says, “The work that I’m doing is going to make an impact on the University of Miami’s campus and is going to continue to leave an impact for generations to come.”

For more information on student organizations, visit the website.