Clubs and organizations allow students to have a free and open space among their peers to escape from the pressures of college.
According to UH’s website, there are more than 400 on-campus student clubs and organizations, ranging from Greek Life to leadership programs. Regardless of major or organizational focus, clubs allow students to gain the necessary tools and social skills that will help later when seeking an internship or job after graduation.
“Being able to have that outlet outside of classes to make friends and express yourself is important whether it’s creatively or professionally,” said biology freshman Bana Hagos.
Hagos and biology junior Asia Lee created Love Our Locks, a newer on-campus organization, along with biology sophomores Safia Ladan and Tara Okwuchi. The club’s focus is about embracing one’s natural hair and creating a safe space. Through Love Our Locks, students can gain new insight on all things hair and meet new people in the process.
“I wanted to start a club with natural hair representation of all hair types and have a community I could go to where if I had any problems or questions about my hair, I could ask,” Okwuchi said.
A sense of belonging gives a student an identity and place where they can be themselves while doing something they love. Being surrounded by others who share that common passion can lead to emotional, mental and social benefits.
According to studies from John D. Foubert and Lauren U. Grainger from the College of William and Mary, students who are more involved on campus experience greater individual development. Students who weren’t involved on campus experienced consistently lower development.
However, there are some who believe that being a part of social organization on campus has no benefit and is in fact dangerous. For example, hazing traditions in sororities and fraternities across the nation has frequently led to lost lives.
According to coverage by CNN, Mike Deng, a student at the Baruch College in New York, was killed in a 2013 Pi Delta Psi Inc. fraternity hazing.
“Deng ultimately suffered and died from a traumatic brain injury while participating in ‘the glass ceiling,’ a ritual that required pledges to run through a line of fraternity brothers who shoved, pushed and tackled the aspiring members to the ground,” according to CNN.
But these negative experiences are not the norm, and should not prevent students from having the opportunity to expand their skills and meet like-minded people.
In addition to Love Our Locks, Lee chose to join Alpha Epsilon Delta, a pre-medical honor society.
“(I’m) pre-med and wanted a better chance into getting into med school after college, due to the recommendation letter that would come along with this club. Without that, it would decrease my chances into getting into med school,” Lee said.
College is all about making memories and networking, and that’s exactly the outlet on-campus organizations provide.
“The stage we’re in right now is the biggest developmental stage of our lives,” Okwuchi said. “Whatever experiences we learn here we will carry throughout our lives, so being in an organization certainly will give you what you need to get through life’s challenges.”