Put the ‘U’ in UH by actively becoming a part of campus clubs, activities
There is a big difference between being a Cougar and going to UH.
The Cougar has school spirit, enjoys responding, “Coogs’ House” when asked “Whose House?” and is happy to be getting an education at UH. The Cougar does not only go to school, but attends school functions.
Finding time to be a Cougar can be difficult sometimes, especially for commuters. Being active in the Cougar community is easier when living on campus; events are often shoved directly under residents’ doors. Living off campus makes it more difficult to stay involved.
Taking time out of one’s day to become involved with a club or activity can be hard — especially when sleeping sounds so tempting. However, becoming a part of the Cougar community is important and it makes this large city seem less overwhelming.
With a campus as diverse as ours, finding a home away from home should be a priority. University activities that bring students together are a necessity.
Students are often heard complaining about this lack of involvement, but there is always some form of activity happening on campus — even if students aren’t aware of it.
There seems to be a pattern that I’ve witnessed with students on campus. Two students will have a conversation when one of them talks about the fun activity they attended on campus the week before.
The second student is genuinely confused, as they have heard of no such activity, and is now angry that they missed out on this opportunity. Don’t worry, I’ve also experienced being this second student.
Generally, I find myself wondering where this activity was and why I wasn’t informed, but then I realize that I don’t really make finding out about these events a priority.
We’ve become complacent and expect to have fun activities delivered to our doorstep rather than look for them.
Kinesiology junior Eric Whittington is one of many students who feel like they’re missing out on activities.
“I find out about a lot of cool stuff that happens after the fact from posts on Facebook or Instagram,” Whittington said.
This causes students to wonder if school participation should be placed more on the shoulders of the students or the University. If one stops to look at the various activity boards around campus, a number of upcoming on-campus activities are being advertised.
In addition, there are also activity postings on walls, stuck into the grass and sometimes on the sidewalks; although, in order to see these activity postings, students would actually have to look up from their phones to stop and read the boards.
Nowadays, it seems as if the most involved groups on campus are either the members of Greek life or student clubs. These two groups remain connected to the University through their organizations, but students who aren’t in these kinds of organizations seem to be out of luck.
Some students didn’t even know that last week was Homecoming Week — myself included.
While I’d love it if the University was adorned with so many ostentatious signs, fliers and spirit-filled Cougars that no one could possibly ignore it, we have to put in some effort too.
In addition, the school spirit at other universities always seems to be high. For example, Texas A&M — even though I hate to admit it — is well-known for its somewhat over-the-top and obnoxious traditions. I don’t think that it would be a bad thing for UH to have some obnoxious traditions.
We have something to be proud of and sought after; therefore, there should be more unification among the student body.
Finance sophomore Jordan Reed recognizes the need for a unified and informed student body.
“A strong student body means a strong group of alumni, which means more money for the University,” Reed said.
“Some student organizations don’t even know about things, and I believe that’s lack of communication on the University’s part, because the University puts on all these events.”
On Oct. 10, Cougars were invited to sign an old beam from Robertson Stadium that was erected in the new stadium. This sounds like a great way to memorialize current Cougars, but most students didn’t hear about it.
However, it’s hard to put this blame purely on lack of advertising by the University; students often receive emails advertising upcoming events, but most students don’t read every one of them.
The Student Program Board, which hosts a majority of the events on campus, is continually trying to increase student participation.
“In Fall 2012, (student participation) reached about 10,000 students. In Fall 2013, we hope to reach out to 12,000 to 16,000 students,” said SPB president Anjuli Tuck.
According to these statistics, only 25 percent of the students on campus are involved in activities. Even with the ambitious hope in rise in student participation, 16,000 students participating is still only about 40 percent of the student population.
With a total of 40 members involved in SPB’s program council, this committee manages to pull together movies, concerts, trips, comedians, speakers, tournaments and other special events. It is hoping to increase student participation with more daytime events that are spread out throughout the week.
If students don’t make more of an effort to become part of the Cougar community, these four to five years of education are going to seem longer than they should. Take the first step by joining a club, and never forget to respond with “Coogs’ House.”
Opinion columnist Kelly Schafler is a print journalism junior and may be reached at [email protected]