#1 Be active in student government
Student government is responsible for representing the student body’s best interests. It’s okay if you never want to run for office in student government, but you should be fairly cognizant of the issues that are being debated in student government. By virtue of being the student government, every decision they make will affect students. If you believe an important issue affecting the quality of your education is not being address, then voice that concern. Trust me. They want to hear from you. If you believe your student government is doing an amazing job, chime in with support as well.
Keeping tabs on what’s going on in student government is one of the easiest ways to stay engaged in what’s happening on campus. Take it one step further and follow your student government on social media!
#2 Read your school paper
No, seriously! Read your school paper. You may be pleasantly surprised about what you find. If your school doesn’t have a physical paper, then read published work online.
I’m not saying you have to hang on every word like it’s the Gospel truth, but reading the school paper is another easy way to get a pulse check regarding what’s going on around campus. If you see an initiative that you want to learn more about, all the authors are fellow students. You can probably find them on Facebook to learn more.
Your school paper is an excellent resource, so take advantage of it. Take it another step further and follow them on social too!
#3 Join a student organization
Joining a student organization is yet another easy way to stay engaged on campus. There’s an art to picking the right one though (which you can learn more about here) but once you do, you’ll feel pride for your school grow. The resources, exposure, and kinship student organizations provide their members is an extension of the opportunities your campus provides. If there is a specific initiative you want to see happen on campus, joining a student organization (or starting one yourself) is a great way to garner support.
#4 Be knowledgeable about events or decisions affecting students
For example, if the school is planning to double tuition and student fees, that’s something you need to be aware of BEFORE it happens. Believe it or not, students’ voices are powerful. You affect what happens on campus. If you don’t like the way the school as a whole is running, you have the power to change it but you can’t change it if you don’t know about it. If your campus is planning on discontinuing a specific program or you believe the school would benefit from adding another degree, it is your responsibility to voice that opinion. However, the only way to voice an educated opinion is to become knowledgeable about what’s going on with your school.
A great place to start is having a conversation with the dean. No seriously, talk to your dean. Ask them about going on in the college and some upcoming major decisions that affect student living. They’ll be impressed you took the initiative to reach out!
#5 Get involved in the local community
At its core, a college or university is an extension of the community. Many colleges and universities make a concerted effort to give back to their local community. Find out how your campus is giving back. Also, try to find out what your campus is known for (community service wise). You might find they’re not always the same thing.
The nice thing about getting involved is that every hand counts. If you only have three hours on Friday mornings to give back, someone somewhere will appreciate it. Community service is the glue that bonds a community together. It gives you a stokehold in wherever you are living currently. It’s a great way to build new relationships, make friends and learn more about the place you call home.
#6 Participate in campus activities
Campus activities are designed with students in mind. They want you to have fun! If it’s not fun, then they want to know how they can improve. They are always looking for feedback from students.
Getting involved with campus activities is a great way to meet new people outside of the classroom and participate in campus traditions. You can also gain valuable leadership and work experience by getting involved with the planning and execution of campus activities.
Think about it. If you believe that things could be run better, there’s probably a role somewhere that will allow you to do just that. There are opportunities everywhere!
#7 Follow your school and prominent figures on social media
Your school and prominent figures (the president, dean(s), provost, popular professors, etc.) are also looking for new ways to engage with students. They are trying to reach out to you and using social is an excellent way to do so. You can keep tabs on new developments by following your school on social. Sometimes social is the best way to get a direct answer for a simple question.
If you follow them, they’ll probably follow you back to spread the love. In my experience, the best social to use for this type of thing is Twitter.
Being active in your campus community is an essential part of capturing the value in your academic career. Your academic career is so much more than the degree you get at the end. It also involves the relationships you make and the lives you touch along the way. Always make a concerted effort to get involved!
I would love to know how you get involved in your campus community. Please share your stories in the comments below. If you found this article helpful, please pass it along. If you have any other questions, feel free to ask them here or in the comments section.