The 2020-2021 academic year was difficult for students, especially freshmen and sophomores, to get involved at Valparaiso University due to COVID-19 restrictions. As COVID precautions have been reduced and a new semester has begun, many opportunities have arisen for all students to get involved around campus.
The first semester of freshman year can be hard to adjust to at first, but being involved on campus and finding your niche may help to combat the adversity that comes with living on your own and settling into a new environment.
There is a wide variety of clubs and organizations that students can become associated with even if they are underclassmen. The organizations participate in an activity fair at the beginning of each new school year, where students can find out more information and learn how to join. This year, the activity fair took place on Aug. 27.
However, even after the activity fair has passed, students can still join new organizations. Organization choices and information can be found on Presence at MyValpo or on the university’s website. Students can also check out the organizations on their respective social media pages. Below, The Torch has highlighted just a few of the many options available on campus.
Student Senate is the governing body of the student organizations on campus that are Senate recognized. Students can become involved in Student Senate or they can find out organization information from them.
“Student Senate truly values what it means to be a representative body for students. Our work is built upon the concerns and ideas that students have regarding everyday campus life. Without the impact of student voices, changes like the updated COVID-19 Dashboard, the new Guest Visitation Policy, and the COVID-19 refund to students would have never happened,” said Student Body President Jolie Foor. “If you’re interested in joining Senate, keep an eye out for future emails from us that include the applications for open positions. If you still want to stay involved but do not want to become a Senator, simply come to us with your concerns, your questions, and ideas.”
One example of organizations that students can be involved in is student media. This includes The Torch, VUTV, WVUR, The Lighter, The Beacon (yearbook) and Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA).
“We are a really open membership program, so we are there for the freshman activity fair and we could easily get their email and reach out to them when we have our next meeting and then they will get notifications,” said Sophie Kreinik, president of PRSSA.
VUTV also allows students to check them out via their social media pages.
"Here at VUTV, students can experience every aspect of what television production is like. Students can be behind the camera, writing scripts, in the control room, or live on camera. Working as a team, we put on many shows throughout the year hoping to build students' experience and connections,” Executive Director Daniel Murphy said. “To learn more, email VUTV@valpo.edu, check out our MyValpo page, or check us out on Facebook or Twitter @ValpoVUTV.”
The Lighter is the literary magazine on campus.
“The Lighter is Valpo’s student-run literary arts magazine. Any student can anonymously submit their art, poetry, or prose...for review and potential publication,” according to their page on the university website. Work can be submitted through a link on their Instagram page: @valpolighter.
Additionally, there are multicultural clubs that students have the opportunity to get involved in as well.
“The Office of Multicultural Programs (OMP) alone has the Black Student Organization (BSO), Asian American Pacific Islander Coalition, LatinX in Valparaiso For Excellence (LIVE), and Alliance,” Dana Delacruz, a junior at Valpo, said.
Students can join LIVE via their social media.
“Follow our Instagram page @valpo_live for general body meeting information and events we host,” said LIVE in an organizational statement. “Once attending a meeting or event we will add you to our mailing list and add you as a member on Presence/myValpo. We hope to see many of you all soon.”
BSO is another organization that is part of the Office of Multicultural Programs that hopes to bring awareness to social issues within the university.
“We discuss a wide range of topics, collaborate with other student-led organizations, and host educational and creative programs. If you would like to become a member of BSO you can sign up through Presence or contact firstname.lastname@example.org,” said Tyla Gross, BSO Executive Board Member.
Fraternity and Sorority Life
Students can also get involved in Fraternity and Sorority Life. Being involved in a sorority or fraternity can help students establish lifelong friendships while allowing them to be a part of something bigger than themselves.
“I found my home in Chi Omega my first fall semester and I do not regret joining at all. I found my experience to be enriching and rewarding through all the philanthropy events and fundraisers we held. Joining a sorority forced me to get out of my comfort zone, build leadership experience, receive countless opportunities and create lifelong friendships” said Julianna Jajeh, a senior who is affiliated with Chi Omega.
Sororities and fraternities are currently going through fall recruitment.
“Fall recruitment has been modest but promising. The mens’ chapters have displayed outstanding qualities that exemplify what it means to be a brother at Valpo. Furthermore, we are excited to see what Spring recruitment holds as freshmen eagerly awaiting their chance to join the ranks,” said Bryan Bockover, Lambda Chi Alpha recruitment chair. “People can still join after the bid signing ceremony.”
Career or Major Oriented
Another great option for students to get involved on campus is to join organizations affiliated with their majors or minors.
Some examples include American Society of Civil Engineers, Biology Club, Chemistry Club, Financial Management Association, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Society of Automotive Engineers, and Spanish Club. This is nowhere near a complete list, so visit MyValpo for other organizations that are available to join.
“I definitely recommend that freshman and sophomores join Greek life and any organizations or clubs associated with their majors are highly recommended because it ties you in closer to what you want to do and it makes you automatically have connections to people,” Kreinik said.
Overall, there is a wide variety of clubs and organizations that students can get involved in while attending Valpo. There is something for everyone, whether it be joining a sorority, being on a sports team or participating in a club or activity here at Valpo.