Getting Involved In All The UA Has To Offer
The high school cliches of the jocks, the nerds, the cheerleaders and the punks may be stereotypical groups of high school, but the students at the UA campus are not confined to certain groups of people. With over 350 student organizations at the UA, every new Razorback can find their niche.
Making new friends can be nerve-racking in any place, but in college conversing with peers can be as simple as sitting next to someone in history class.
“You’ll meet people everywhere — from the residence halls, to classes, et cetera,” said Stewart Pence, freshman international relations major.
The first thing that many students look for in meeting new people is a commonality, whether it’s a love of a sports team or the hobby of reading The Hunger Games book series. The registered student organizations (RSOs) at the UA have groups that everyone can get involved in.
“Freshmen can get involved on campus by joining an RSO or creating their own RSO,”
said Robyn Barthel, assistant director for RSOs in the Office of Student Activities. “The best advice I can give to freshmen is to take advantage of involvement opportunities early in your college career.”
The UA has an organization that helps students learn about how to get involved in organizations.
“A new student-led group on campus called Student Organization Outreach and Involvement Experience, also known as SOOIE, is here to help students get involved,” Barthel said. “SOOIE members are student leaders who have been involved on campus and who work one-on-one with new students to help them find an RSO that meets their specific interests. They are very knowledgeable about the different RSOs on campus and can also assist students in forming their own RSO if there is not currently one that meets their interests.”
The SOOIE members are dedicated to assisting UA students in finding a group that makes them feel at home throughout the year.
“SOOIE members will be present at the RSO info fairs at New Student Orientation. In addition, SOOIE members will be available throughout the year to individually help students find an RSO and help them fit into campus,” Barthel said. “Once the new school year starts, SOOIE members will have tables set up on a regular basis on the Union Mall and Union Food Court to talk to students about getting involved in an RSO. Students can also schedule individual appointments with SOOIE members by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.”
The “special interests” category of student clubs range anywhere from Razorback Quidditch to the American Heart Association.
For more information on all RSOs at the UA, students can visit the website at www.leadership.uark.edu/organizations/.
Greek Life at the UA includes 10 sororities and 14 fraternities that students can learn more about by visiting their website, uagreeks.uark.edu. Fall rush for sororities begins August 11, and fraternity rush begins August 20.
According to collegeboard.com, 21 percent of males join Greek fraternities and 41 percent of women join Greek sororities, but for the rest of the population it is possible to join a fraternity or sorority that is not a part of Panhellenic or the IFC.
Service fraternities and sororities allow brotherhood and sisterhood with a common interest of volunteering, such as Gamma Sigma Sigma, the service sorority.
“My RA Erin and my friend Kayla encouraged me to join [Gamma Sigma Sigma],” said Lisa Darden, freshman nutrition and hospitality major. “It is a lot like what I did in the Girl Scouts back in high school, so that’s what really drew me in. I was missing that kind of support, and Gamma Sigma Sigma really gave that back to me.”
There are also major-centered fraternities such as Tau Beta Pi, the engineering honor society, or Alpha Kappa Psi, the business fraternity.
For those students who are international or just interested in different cultures, there are RSOs such as the Caribbean Students Association that allow students from the Caribbean to adjust to the university lifestyle.
Razorbacks for Christ, a religious organization, offers Christian students and those interested in Christianity to become involved with others who share the same beliefs. Spiritual groups range from Hillel Jewish Student Association to the Muslim Student Association.
The UA, like any structured university, has its own government. Associated Student Government (ASG) allows students to become a part of planning ideas for student life.
“I got involved with ASG in three different ways,” Pence said. “First, a friend of mine tried to get me to run for senate vacancies. Second, my RA, Matt Seubert, allowed me to assist him with the Tucker/Klein/Hazelwood/Banwarth campaign for ASG. While the ticket did lose, I got to see how a campaign is run firsthand, and I learned more about ASG in the process.”
While there are a countless number of RSOs already in existence, it is possible that a desired organization has not yet been created.
“New RSOs may register with the Office of Student Activities at any time,” Barthel said. “It takes a minimum of six students to start an RSO, and each one must have a faculty or staff advisor who works at the university. The complete process is outlined at osa.uark.edu.”
The College Board reveals that 45 percent of undergraduates are from out of state, but no matter the hometown, UA students can find their place.
“This is a campus with enough people to constitute a small town. You will find friends here,” Pence said. “Whether you love Razorback football or live-action role playing on Union Mall, there is something here for you.”
The instant of stepping on campus for orientation can change a student’s life with the opportunity to meet other incoming freshman in the same transition from a high school senior to a college freshman.
“Get involved with your classmates,” Darden said. “Pay attention to who you meet in Orientation, because you will see them all over campus. Making friends is really easy, and it’s easier if you join an RSO.”