Encourage Students to Connect with Clubs As Soon as They Get to Campus

Get Involved!Whether an athlete or a dancer or a debater or a hiker, my students agree that one of the surest ways to avoid homesickness, make friends and have a great time at UMass is to get involved with one or more clubs.  Encourage your freshman, transfer and/or returning student to make time for this fall’s Activities Expo – the campus wide activities fair held from 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm, at the Haigis mall on Wednesday, September 7, 2016.  Pretty much every club and activity available on campus will be there.

Check out the full list on UMass Campus Pulse, the online directory for links to all club web pages. Officially recognized clubs are generally funded by a mix of member dues, fund raising efforts and some contributions from the Student Activities Fund administered by the Student Government Association.

If your student likes ice hockey, soccer, swimming, synchro skating, baseball, bass fishing or almost any other type of sport, Club sports offer a way to keep playing at a competitive level while still having time for school.  It is important to know that some Club sports do make cuts and fall sports may start practices and try outs the first few weeks of the semester, so it never hurts to let the coach and the Club president know that you are coming.

Club sport athletes practice regularly, travel, wear the school colors and, can even compete for national titles.  This past season the Women’s Club Ice Hockey team won their Division, beating out UVM, Penn State, Northeastern and URI and had the chance to compete in the American Collegiate Hockey Association national tournament in Kalamazoo, MI.

Sports not your student’s thing?  No problem.  For outdoors types, the UMass Outing Club runs an active roster of outdoor trips all year long – but pay attention to sign up deadlines because the best trips fill fast.  Service groups like Habitat for Humanity or the BoltWood Project provide opportunities to work with members of the local community.  The Daily Collegian newspaper, UVC-19 TV, and the student radio station WUMA provide a great outlet for would-be journalists.   Music and dance clubs provide performance and practice opportunities regardless of the student’s major and the UMass Amherst Student Government Association, including the residence hall House Councils, opens up opportunities to shape school policies and plan activities.  The House Council is a great way to make connections in the student’s housing cluster.  Elections are held early in the fall.

With over 200 clubs to choose from there should be something that will grab your student’s interest.  For both my UMass Amherst scholars, club friendships have been a big part of what makes UMass Amherst so special. Encourage your student to learn about clubs before Fall Move-in and to make connections in the first weeks of school when most organizations are just getting going for the new year!

Mary Turner is the mom of a former Student Government Association Senator and recently graduated Economics major, Class of 2016. She is also the mom of a rising sophomore geology major and club sport athlete, Class of 2019