With more than 1,000 different student organizations on this campus, incoming students are often split between feeling excited and overwhelmed over all the opportunities to meet new people, explore interests, and have a good time. Each student organization focuses on a different topic and aims to truly build a community amongst its members. Besides philanthropy, forming relationships and developing skills, student organizations provide awareness to different issues on this campus.
Student organizations are the backbone of campus. They connect far more than academics or jobs ever could. Identity-based organizations inspire acceptance and diversity. Similarly, interest-based groups make a large school feel more like home by creating small communities of students who enjoy the same hobbies. Advocacy and philanthropy organizations also play a pivotal role on campus, helping badgers in need while contributing to the Wisconsin Idea—that it is the duty of the students to use their experience at UW to make the world a better place. Why not start now? No matter what they stand for, each student organization on this campus makes Madison what it truly is—an inclusive campus where everyone can find a home.
Student organizations also provide incredible insight into different issues on this campus. Atheists, Humans, & Agnostics advocates for the inclusion of atheists in a country mainly run on Christian principles. Partnerships for Action, Voices for Empowerment ensures we know what to do when a friend opens up about a time they were assaulted. NAMI helps us understand matters of mental health. The Center for Religion and Global Citizenry provides opportunities for interfaith work on this campus at a time when differences may divide us too often.
All student organizations, even ones we don’t necessarily think of, advocate for instrumental change in Madison. While the Student Leader Action Coalition provides deep insight on how to organize around certain issues, organizations like the Institute of Management Accountants help us understand the importance of saving for retirement, and how to actually invest money, equally important skills in our lifetime.
Student organizations fill the huge gap between what we learn in class and what we actually need to know for our lives after college. Want to learn how to advocate for a new program in your job? Ask the Hmong American Studies Committee about their advocacy for a new certificate program in Madison, because you won’t learn about it in your classes. Interested in how to be more inclusive of all religions, not just the Abrahamic ones? Talk to the SGI-USA Buddhist Badgers club, because being inclusive to all religions and identities is extremely important in life.
It is obvious that student organizations are critical to the UW experience, granting students skills, understanding, and social opportunities they wouldn’t find anywhere else. If you are truly interested in meeting and learning from all these student organizations, the easiest way to do it would be to come to ASM’s Annual Leadership Conference New People New Voices, where over 20 different student organizations (including all the ones mentioned in this article) will give workshops about different issues and skills in this world.
New People New Voices is being held this Saturday, February 10th, from 4:00-8:00PM in the 4th floor of the Student Activity Center. It’s never too late to connect with different student organizations and become more involved. Together, we can build a community of advocates and leaders from all around campus.
Yogev Ben-Yitschak ([email protected]) is a sophomore majoring in marketing and digital studies and a member of the New People New Voices organization.