By Marissa Culbreth
The first thing that many undergrads get asked prior to starting college at any university is, "What are you going to get involved with on campus?" For a lot of freshman, they really just don't know yet and are unsure of all of their possibilities. When I was asked this question almost two years ago, I gave the basic answer that many prospective students give: "I'm going to get involved with intramural sports, Greek life, and maybe even some service organizations that pertains to my major." Everything seemed fine and dandy until my first day at UF. I remember thinking to myself, "How the heck am I suppose to get involved with the things that I want to?"
No need to fear!!
The great thing about UF is that you can go virtually anywhere on campus to find out where and how to get involved with the things that you want to. Even though UF may seem like a terrifying place to an 18 year old freshman, getting involved and meeting people can make it seem not so overwhelming.
Turlington Plaza is probably one of the most diverse places on UF’s campus. When walking through Turlington, you will see multiple student-ran organizations passing out flyers to make their organization more well-known and to get students to join. This is an area where people are aloud to speak their minds, express their opinions, and congregate with other students. If you don’t feel like going to the Student Involvement Fair or the Volunteer Organization Fair, Turlington is an excellent place to look for ways to get involved while walking to and from class. With all of these attributes at Turlington, this is the place with the heaviest populated and most foot-traffic during the day, which makes it very easy for these organizations to spread information about their purpose.
STUDENT INVOLVEMENT FAIR/ VOLUNTEER ORGANIZATION FAIR
The Student Involvement Fair and the Volunteer Organization Fair happens at the beginning of every semester in the North Lawn of the Reitz Union. This is another great place to see more of the organizations on campus that you could get involved with. There are about 30 tables set up with people there to inform you about their organization. This where I found out about the ambassador program that I am currently involved with. These organizations serve the UF and Gainesville community as a whole and works to make it a better place. These types of organizations also look very good on resumes so it would be very beneficial to check out all of the options.
Career Showcase, offered through the Career Resource Center, is a fantastic way to meet big and small corporations and companies from across the country. This is a great opportunity to look for an internship either within the Gainesville community or in other major cities in the United States. Although this may seem intimidating at first, it is an opportunity that you don’t want to pass up. Most of the businesses at Career Showcase are mainly looking for juniors, however, if you go your freshman and sophomore year, you will be able to build up your professional speaking skills and not be as nervous for when the time really matters. Two of my roommates have gotten internship interest from these companies and are more likely to be hired as an intern next year. This is also a great way to ask questions about your resume and cover letter in order to enhance it and make it more professional.
If you’re into sports and want to find a way to check out all of the athletic options that UF has to offer, then RecStravaganza is the place to go! RecStravaganza is an event held at the main on-campus gym, South West Rec, located on the Southwest side of campus. Similar to Career Showcase, here you will find all of the different sports clubs and intramural teams that you can get involved in. These teams range from recreational sports to competitive sports. The sports include soccer, flag football, cheerleading, tennis, volleyball, rugby, softball, baseball, and many more. Two of my current roommates both got involved with their club sports teams, Club Field Hockey and Club Lacrosse, through RecStravaganza. My other roommate and I are both doing intramural competitive soccer, which we also found out about through RecStravaganza. This is a great way to get involved on campus, make new friends, and potentially avoid that Freshmen 15 that mom always warned us about.
Through all of these things offered at UF, I was able to become apart of the UF community and get involved. Last semester I joined Alpha Chi Omega Sorority and I have met some of my best friends there; our sorority philanthropy is to advocate for domestic violence awareness. Through RecStravaganza, my roommate and I are playing intramural competitive soccer this semester. At the Student Organization Fair, I was able to learn about, apply, and get accepted to be an Ambassador for the Brown Center for Leadership and Service located at the Reitz. With all of these clubs and organizations, my experience here at UF over the past two years have been greatly enhanced. These organizations build up who I am as a person and will prepare me for my future career in the years to come.