Forums make it easier to find extracurricular activities

Students were given a firsthand chance to explore involvement opportunities at the annual Spring Involvement Fair.
By Alex Kamphorst

Students were given a firsthand chance to explore involvement opportunities at the annual Spring Involvement Fair.

Forums make it easier to find extracurricular activities

By Alex Kamphorst
Two new online platforms help University of Miami students discover opportunities to get involved on campus and in the community.

The start of a semester is a popular time for students to get involved in extracurricular activities. With new classes underway, many student organizations and community groups are ready to welcome students looking to explore their personal interests.

"My ’Cane family has always been very important to me and being involved has given me a chance to expand my horizons, to really step outside my comfort zone, and make new friends," said Cachay Byrd, a senior and vice-chair of the Committee on Student Organizations. "I hope any student who gets involved feels like there is a community out there for them, no matter what their interests are."

Active participation on campus helps students develop skills—such as time-management, networking, and leadership—that can contribute to a higher GPA and a successful college experience. Students who become involved can carry these skills into the job market, making them better job candidates.

“By being involved, students can make a significant impact in their communities while developing practical skills and making lasting friendships,” said Mercy Lavado, associate director for Student Activities and Student Organizations (SASO).

However, for any college student, participating in extracurricular activities on campus can be a daunting task. With more than 305 student organizations, countless on-campus events, and even more opportunities to be part of departmental programming, there is a lot of information to sift through for students to find their fit.

The Division of Student Affairs recently rolled out two new platforms to connect students with involvement opportunities both on campus and in the community.

Engage

For students who wish to participate with on-campus groups, Engage is the official platform for all undergraduate University of Miami student organizations. The site allows students, faculty, and staff to see the calendar of student organization events and to view the contact information for all on-campus groups.

“Engage is here to give students that sense of belonging they are looking for on campus” said Lavado. “They are able to filter out all of the organizations we have by what interests them and find that one organization that really speaks to them.”

Volunteer Opportunities Database

Students can also become involved in the community beyond campus. The William R. Butler Center for Volunteer Service and Leadership Development launched its Volunteer Opportunities Database to serve as a resource for students who want to cultivate a positive social change in their communities.

The database allows students to discover on- and off-campus volunteer opportunities, access a full listing of community organizations, and manage personal volunteer hours.

“We hope that students see that there is a volunteer opportunity that they can easily become engaged with through service,” said Lindsey Woods, assistant director for the Butler Center. “If students are looking to get involved through community service, they will be able to see opportunities available to them in one convenient space.”

Students who are looking for more ways to participate in extracurricular activities can contact SASO at 305-284-6399 or the Butler Center for Service and Leadership at 305-284-4483.