The University of Wisconsin is bubbling with opportunities to get involved. Whether you’re looking to further your education, volunteer or have some fun and meet new people, UW’s got you covered.

The Center for Leadership and Involvement makes it all happen. Located in the Red Gym, the CfLI helps students connect with many different ways to get involved, ranging from student organizations to the Greek life.

In a written statement sent via e-mail to The Badger Herald, the Center for Leadership and Involvement noted over 105 new organizations have been registered on campus this school year.

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One click of the Wisconsin Involvement Network’s website produces a vast database of clubs and organizations across campus, and with 900 options, it’s easy to find something you’re interested in. Through the site, you can also track upcoming events and stay up-to-date with what’s happening at UW.

Additionally, the office is in charge of setting up new clubs and programs on campus. Students and staff looking to start new organizations must first go through the CfLI to register, and the benefits of being formally recognized by UW are endless.

Optimist International is one of the brand new clubs on WIN’s list. Headed by Marissa Burkman, the group is one of 3,000 clubs worldwide that’s operated since 1919. Their goal is to create a positive impact in children’s lives, completing service projects that are “community and need-based” in order to reach it.

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Burkman noted being university-recognized is advantageous for student organizations. One major benefit discussed was gaining access to rooms within UW buildings.

“If we were meeting in someone’s apartment or the dining hall, it would lack professionalism,” Burkman said.

Funding is also crucial. Recognized clubs are eligible for grants through the Associated Students of Madison, the Multicultural Council, and the Wisconsin Experience Grant. They can also use the free publicity of the WIN website and Student Org Fairs in the spring and fall. However, most importantly, clubs are able to advertise their affiliation with UW to present their interests in a professional manner.

Starting a club is relatively easy. There is an online “Registration 101” page that outlines the exact criteria necessary to create one. If you have a unique idea you’d like to share with the community, follow the four-step instructions and fill out the registration forms. 

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Joining an already registered organization is an even easier option. All you need to do is scroll through the countless options UW has to offer. But while some are as easy as showing up to the meeting, some organizations have more requirements to join.

Like a majority of volunteer and academic clubs on campus, members of Optimist International must have a minimum GPA of 2.0 and maintain good legal standing. It has a $10 fee, which is also common and crucial to opening opportunities for the group. Finally, it includes all members of the UW community.

To check out other new organizations on campus this year, head over to the WIN and find an organizations that fits you.