Students miss out by not participating

The University of Houston is not well known for its participation and involvement; rather, it is better known for the vast amount of commuters and students coming for an education and leaving. This lack of participation creates a hardship on the students when adapting to the world outside of college. The resources, knowledge, procedures and information the recent graduate must obtain while on the job could have easily been acquired from various groups on campus, such as the Student Program Board, Student Government Association, fraternities, sororities and various clubs.

Groups are for anyone with any reason: some want to build their r’eacute;sum’eacute;s, some want the community connection, some want the experience for the present or for their career.

The fact is, each student pays a fee of $185 per semester. You must take advantage of the activities and groups provided for you, paid for by your fees.

The SPB brings you shows you want to see. The Student Government Association is not an internal organization that creates rules and regulations by itself. In fact, it is similar to the public session of the Houston City Council; you can literally put yourself on the docket or agenda and state your concerns and your remedies for that concern. The SGA has influence over food prices, disciplinary matters, building locations and tuition, and is working with the Tuition and Fees Review Committee to recommend a plan to UH President Renu Khator that, pending approval from the Board of Regents, would cap your tuition at 6 percent a year for the next two years, provide a two-for-one summer program and increase financial aid to families making $30,000 a year instead of $25,000.

SGA President David Rosen said that participating in student organizations is important for all students.

"Joining a fraternity was the best decision I ever made," he said. "It opened me up."

Rosen said he was lucky to be pulled into that environment early on and that students need to be involved with some activity. Students do not learn to negotiate by listening to lectures and reading books, he said, and grades are not everything. Rosen also said his grades aren’t the best, but his learned skill of managing crises will greatly help his performance after college.

If a student is shy or antisocial, Rosen said that he or she should keep in mind that students at UH are similar. Most of us, he said, have wives, husbands, kids, a job or two and are probably commuters. You are in familiar territory. Rosen also encouraged everyone to get involved with the SGA whether by running for an office, joining a committee or attending and speaking at an SGA meeting.

Kristen Salo, the SPB advisor, said that learning outside of a classroom is critical for students. Salo was involved with the softball team, student alumni organizations and the sorority Alpha Kappa Psi, as well as other groups at Boise State, and said the lessons she learned from those experiences are very important. Employers also feel extracurricular activities are important, she said, and she encourages students to be active with the Student Program Board.

"SPB has the power to bring any event to UH," Salo said, and the organization is only limited by your creativity.

So before you walk by a bulletin board, stop and see what’s going on in the community. Odds are something will pique your interest. If there is no group that has what you are looking for, you can always create one. If you are interested in doing so, head to the University Center Underground and talk to Campus Activities. After all, the point is to get involved to better your future.

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