Experts say that for every hour you are in a class as an undergrad, you should study three hours outside of class. So let’s say you are taking the average course load of 12 credits. Technically you should be studying 36 hours a week. Let’s break this down:
7 days a week x 24 hours = 168 hours a week
168 hours a week – 56 (based on an average of 8 hours a night!) for sleep = 112 hours left
112 hours - 20 hours a week for eating, bathroom time, etc. = 92 hours left
92 hours – 12 hours for class and 36 hours a week for studying = 44 hours!!!
Forty-four hours is a lot of time - almost 7 hours a day! How can you fill that time? The answer is simple: get involved in campus life! Getting involved in activities that are not just fun, but co-curricular, is an AWESOME way to become invested in the campus community, meet new people, and enjoy your college career. Leadership, communication, planning, and organization are just some of the talents and skills that various aspects of campus involvement will elicit and sharpen. There are lots of opportunities for involvement that will enrich your co-curricular experience. The following sections describe just a few of those opportunities.
Student organizations cover a broad range of student issues, and ideals. You can select from the Underwater Hockey Team or Future Rocket Scientist of America! Common interests guide most student organizations. And if you don’t find a group for a core interest area of yours, you could start one as getting a student group started is pretty easy. It usually requires a small group of committed students approaching the office that deals with student groups and going through the established protocol.
Groups can fall into many different interest areas. Here are just a few examples:
Campus-wide programming is an exciting part of campus life that provides participation opportunities. Usually run by a student group or committee, various campus interactive events, concerts, educational programming and other events are researched, planned and executed by students. Programming can provide a high level of training in large scale events and collaboration with many campus offices and stakeholders. Some possible committees and/or groups could consist of, but are not limited to:
Student Government is the voice of the student body and takes on issues and concerns of the students. Usually undergrad and graduate students are represented along with academic units and other interests. There are opportunities for involvement in committee work and other legislation. By becoming part of Student Government you can serve as a direct link for the student body to the university administration.
Fraternity and Sorority Life (often referred to as Greek Life) can be an exciting part of an undergraduate experience. Fraternities and Sororities contribute to campus life by sponsoring educational, philanthropic, and social activities for the University and surrounding communities. These organizations encourage high academic standards and provide opportunities for campus involvement, networking, and leadership development. These groups are values-based organizations that subscribe to very specific ideals. You can find many different kinds of Greek-lettered organizations ranging from traditional groups to those rooted in cultural values like Asian, Latino and African American heritage.
Do you like to write? Perhaps music or multimedia are your passions? Student Media is a great way to test your creative or inquisitive talents. Student newspapers, campus wide publications, and radio and TV stations are excellent ways to inform, motivate, or entertain your fellow students. Student Media is a great way to gain media knowledge and skills through experiential learning. You can be a news editor or writer for a journal magazine or the producer of a TV show on the campus network. All are great ways to meet new and interesting people!
For some, playing sports in high school was probably a great experience. Have you considered reigniting your passion and tapping into your competitive side to play some of those sports again? Recreational and Intramural sports can give you that opportunity! The level of experience needed differs, but there is usually an opportunity for any level of play. Some teams travel and compete against other club teams from different schools. You can even create an intramural team with your residence hall buddies or friends and play in an intramural league. Athletic options include, but are not limited to:
There are so many options to choose from and each is a great activity to participate in. The choices can be overwhelming. It is important to figure out how much you can take on and how much of a commitment you are willing to make. Some of the above mentioned activities require a lot of time and others will take as much time as you are willing to give. Either way, available to you are a myriad of opportunities that will help you explore, learn, and have fun in the campus community.
I bet by now you are wondering, “How do I sign up?” or “How do I get more information?” The answer is easy! Visit the Student Activities or Involvement office on campus. Check out their website and the sites of the different groups. Campus professionals will be able to assist and point you in the right direction. Ask your friends what they are involved in and what opportunities are available. Check out the student newspaper and radio station. Keep your eyes and ears open for involvement carnivals and fairs. Attend programs, and above all else, ask lots of questions! The more you know, the easier it will be to pick and choose what you want to be a part of!
Remember, the time you spend outside of the classroom can be just as important as the time you spend in it! Choose wisely and ENJOY! So I ask you now…how will you fill your hours?
Michelle Guobadia, M.Ed.
Assistant Director Student Activities- Fraternity and Sorority Life
Charvis V. Campbell
Assistant Dean, University Life
MORE THAN YOU CAN IMAGINE
Getting Involved On Campus
Ever feel bored on campus? Ever feel like there should be more to do? If you’re bored you have no one to blame but yourself. There are all types of avenues to get involved, no matter what your interests are. Involvement in co-curricular activities develops leadership and organizational skills, produces friendships, and assists in the transition to college life. Involvement through various programs, services, support and promotion of student government, leadership training, and various workshops can all help you feel like a part of the campus community while fostering some great friendships.
In order for you to better understand the function of some of these great campus institutions, we’ve included details about each in this section.
Organizations are groups formed by students with similar interests to help them develop friendships and advance common goals. From social to honor societies, more than 100 organizations are often recognized at the university. If you have a special interest in something that is not already available and would like to start your own organization, talk with campus officials in student activities to get more information. Some examples of student organizations include:
Greek letter organizations encourage members to achieve high academic standards and provide many opportunities for leadership, community service, and personal development. Joining one of the nationally affiliated fraternities or sororities can be a great way to meet people and make lasting friendships.
Typically student-run organizations, activity boards promote campus unity through events that are entertaining, interactive, and educational. Committees may consist of, but are not limited to:
Student governance represents and advocates on behalf of the student body. Undergraduate and graduate students in each academic unit elect a certain number of representatives based on the number of students enrolled in that unit. If you are interested in getting involved in Student Government you should contact your Student Government officers or stop by the Student Government office to get more details.
Interested in writing for the student newspaper, hosting an on air music show, or broadcasting? Then student media is the place for you. As a member of a student media group you have the opportunity to:
ATHLETICS AND RECREATION
Ever wish you could get involved in intercollegiate athletics? Perhaps you’d be interested in recreational or intramural sports. There are plenty of opportunities to get involved. Athletic options include:
HOW DO I GET INVOLVED IN THESE CAMPUS ACTIVITIES?
Your college years can be some of the best of your life, providing opportunities to learn, explore, and have fun. The faculty and staff recognize the value of a well-rounded program for student development and encourage you to participate in campus activities. To get started, you can:
Now that you have the basic knowledge to get you started on your journey to campus involvement, it’s up to you to take the next step to find an activity you enjoy. How you spend your time outside the classroom is just as important as the time you spend in it. Get out there and try something new – you might find an activity you never knew you would enjoy!
Nikki Elston, M.S.
Student Activities - Programming
The Center for Global Education (CGE) provides a wide array of study abroad opportunities for both students and the general public and functions as the hub for international educational activities. CGE offers short-term, semester/year long, honors study abroad, international internships and intensive language programs and houses all information about its programs and learning opportunities at http://www.gmu.edu/departments/cge/.
The Center for Service and Leadership (CSL) promotes positive change and civic engagement by combining academic study, leadership development and direct community service. CSL is a resource for leadership education and service-learning initiatives. Volunteer opportunities, events, and activities are available via the website at http://www.gmu.edu/student/csl/.
Get Involved at Mason is a web page of the offices of University Life that offers suggestions for involvement to enhance in- and out-of-class experience, to facilitate interaction with faculty, staff, and other students. To browse opportunities and involvement in special events, clubs, movies, and other celebrations on all three campuses visit http://www.gmu.edu/departments/unilife/getinvolved.html.
The Office of Diversity Programs and Services (ODPS) serves students, cultural organizations, and the Mason community by promoting an environment that fosters and values human understanding and diversity. The goal of ODPS is to provide a campus environment where diversity is valued, appreciated, and celebrated. A variety of programs and services are in place to aid students in becoming the best they can be and a listing of activities and events is posted online and ALL students are welcome to participate. Visit http://www.gmu.edu/student/msaf/events.html.
The Counseling Center's Multicultural Peer Empowerment Program (PEP) provides emotional support and outreach services for students from all cultural and ethnic backgrounds. Some objectives include addressing cultural issues that can negatively affect a student's transition into an institution of higher education; facilitate understanding of the university as a multi-cultural community; encourage student participation in campus and community activities; and assist with or develop workshops, programs and special activities based on student interests and concerns. Please see http://www.gmu.edu/student/peer/ for more information.
Student Activities strives to create a holistic learning community designed to complement academic studies and enhance the overall educational experience of the student. Student Activities offers a variety of events for the Mason community to enjoy. The activities listed below are some of the Mason traditions that help foster school spirit as well as provide entertainment on campus. All events are FREE to students and are updated at http://sa.gmu.edu/about.html.
The Student Media Group is part of University Life and integrates fee-funded student media organizations within a learning community. Students gain invaluable media knowledge and skills through experiential learning, internships and special projects by working with the various media organizations including Broadside, WGMU, and MCN. Visit http://www.gmu.edu/departments/unilife/studentmedia/.
The Women's Studies Research and Resource Center at George Mason University provides referrals and resource information to students, faculty, and staff. Topics covered include women's health and empowerment, sexual assault, sexual harassment, feminism, racism, sexism, and homophobia. In addition to providing a library, the Center hosts lectures, conferences, and other public events to promote a sense of community on campus and to raise awareness of women's issues. To see a listing of events visit http://jcweb.gmu.edu/communities/wrc/events.htm.
The American Red Cross helps people in emergencies including disaster victims and sick children through the help of volunteers who learn the benefits of lending their assistance. Red Cross "everyday heroes" come from all walks of life and all age groups. Everyone has something special to offer. Thr local Red Cross can provide rewarding experiences, whatever the volunteer’s schedule. Search thousands of one-time and ongoing Red Cross opportunities by zip code, category, and date on VolunteerMatch's online database or visit the local website at http://www.redcross.org/where/search.asp.
The State Board of Elections (SBE) is a bipartisan agency responsible for ensuring uniformity, fairness, accuracy and purity in all elections in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The agency promotes the proper administration of election laws, campaign finance disclosure compliance, and voter registration processes in Virginia by promulgating rules, regulations, issuing instructions, and providing information to local electoral boards and general registrars. In addition, the agency maintains a centralized database of statewide voter registration and election related data. For voter registration services and more information visit http://www.sbe.state.va.us/.
Alpha Phi Omega is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit fraternity organization assembling college students in a national service fraternity in the fellowship of principles derived from the Scout Oath and Law of the Boy Scouts of America. These principles strive to develop leadership, to promote friendship, to provide service to humanity; and to further freedom. Alpha Phi Omega is the single most representative undergraduate, intercollegiate organization in the United States of America. Browse colleges and universities all across America involved with Alpha Phi Omega, their students, their campuses and their communities and view program information available at http://www.apo.org/. The local link for the Alpha Phi Omega chapter is http://www.gmu.edu/org/apo/.
The Center for Civic Education is a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational corporation dedicated to fostering the development of informed, responsible participation in civic life by citizens committed to values and principles fundamental to American constitutional democracy. The Center specializes in civic/citizenship education, law-related education, and international educational exchange programs for developing democracies. Programs focus on the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights; American political traditions and institutions at the federal, state, and local levels; constitutionalism; civic participation; and the rights and responsibilities of citizens. For more information browse the website at http://www.civiced.org/index.php.
Study Abroad.com is a great place to begin when thinking of studying abroad. The website has information about academic semester and summer programs, internship programs, as well as an array of practical information about things like financial aid, housing, discount airfare, telephone services, health insurance, and consumer tips. There is also a discussion board and newsletter available that can be accessed at http://www.studyabroad.com/.
The U.S. Department of State is focused on accomplishing America's mission of diplomacy at home and around the world. Here, the web site talks about learning how and where this important work is performed, the Foreign and Civil Service bureaus, as well as the details about history. Each year, the U.S. Department of State assigns Senior Foreign Service Officers to the position of Diplomat in Residence (DIR) at certain colleges and universities throughout the United States. The DIR program is central to the effort to recruit the best and brightest to represent America's rich diversity to the world. For more information on leadership, visit http://www.careers.state.gov/general/index.html.