The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Dedicated membership: the art of getting involved

Last Saturday, at the annual “Night at the Club”, I was in full force – organization t-shirt on, poster board set, 720 yellow leis at the ready, sign-in sheet prepared, and a strong voice to woo in the crowds.

And, I was just one of the hundreds of people pursuing new freshmen and transfer students to join my organization (Amnesty International).

As the night passed, I saw the eager faces of hundreds of new SMU students, overwhelmed into excitement (and delirium). This reminded me of my freshman year – eager, overwhelmed and excited to be involved in as many ways as possible.

Now that I am a senior and an active member in all types of organizations at SMU, I have learned a few things about being involved at SMU and how to take the sensory overload that is the first week of freshman year and make it meaningful.

First, if an organization sounds interesting, go to the meeting. Bring a friend. Spending an hour at a meeting does not mean you have to join for good or even go to a second meeting. You can get a feel for the organization and meet people interested in the same stuff you are.

For instance, if you are interested in human rights, you can attend the first SMU Amnesty International meeting (Tuesday, Aug. 31 at 5 p.m. in HT Atriums C-D) and the Embrey Human Rights Program Information Session (Thursday, September 2 at 6:30 PM in HT Forum). You are sure to meet interesting people and find out about exciting opportunities at SMU.

Second, okay so you’ve gone to the meeting, met some interesting people, and really liked it. What now? It’s time to officially sign-up for your new organization. While this process is different for every organization, it usually consists of filling out a member sheet or e-mailing the president with your interest. If the organization is chartered, don’t forget to add it to your list of student organizations on Access. Signing-up for an organization allows the officers to know who you are and how to contact you. It also helps with the chartering of your organization for next year.

Congratulations, you are now a member of an organization at SMU! But how do you become an awesome member of an organization at SMU?

Introduce yourself to the officers. Keep on introducing yourself to the officers until they recognize you (by name and face) outside of meetings. Most officers keep a list of people in the back of their minds to call up when they need help or have a new idea. You want to be at the top of this list. Note: this will help for being elected as an officer later on!

Next, introduce yourself to all of the other members. Members keep an organization thriving. This is also a great way to meet friends. Try to have lunch with a member of an organization one day or talk to them outside of meetings. Getting involved is so much easier if you have a friend in the organization.

Now you know everyone. What’s next? Do something – volunteer to help at an event, be on a committee, participate. Officers want reliable people who are willing to help. If you have special skills (which you do) – use them. Everyone has something they can offer. Can you make cool bubble letters for a poster, are your great at balancing a checkbook, do you bake a fierce chocolate chip cookie? All of these skills and whatever else you can offer are great ways to get involved.

Finally, be dedicated. Attend the meetings. Go to the events. Take pride in your organization. Organizations aren’t just ways to fill up your resume (but by all means do!). They are ways to contribute to your community, to get involved at SMU and to actively participate in your interests. They are also great ways to develop important skills and further your SMU education.

So, go out there. Join an organization or twelve. Be involved and have fun!

Jordan Johansen is senior triple history, music and anthropology double major. She is also the president of Amnesty International. She can be reached for comments or questions at [email protected].

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