Oct 5, 2018 at 12:00am ET By Alyssa Walker

Whether you are just starting school or a few years in, it is never too late to get involved in campus life. Looking for some fun activities outside of your classes? Don't know how to get involved? 

You have come to the right place. There are lots of ways you can get involved and find something that suits you, maybe even challenges you a bit. Here are some ideas to start on your quest to get involved in your campus community.

1. Join a student organization

Student-led. Student-operated. No on-campus activity gives you more autonomy that joining a student organization.

It's not just about making friends -- although that's definitely a perk. It is about developing your people skills, broadening your network, practicing those soft skills, and most importantly -- making things happen.

All student organizations require events, meetings, matches, competitions, trips, or fundraisers to ensure their success. What better way to practice those organizational skills than by joining a student group of your choice and learning how to get things done. And it's a bonus if you make a few friends along the way, which you probably will. Give it a go!

2. Become a housing assistant

Yes, you are already part of the campus community by virtue of your student status, but think about all the pieces that make that community work -- specifically housing.

If you are a first-year student at a traditional school, you probably live in campus housing. And campus housing requires student community councils that work to make student accommodations desirable places to be. Become a part of it.

You may even want to join Residence Life and become a Resident Assistant, or RA. If you care about living experiences for your fellow on-campus classmates and want to make them better, consider campus housing as a way to get involved.

3. Attend student government meetings

Political? Then attend a public student government meeting. Even if you don't join student government, you'll learn about major issues affecting your school, events, and other opportunities.

If you do run for student government, you can have a say in how the student body approaches issues. 

4. Find a job

Need money? Instead of working off-campus, find an on-campus job for a department that you enjoy. You will make some on-campus connections, learn more about your school, and build that network.

If you need some help, meet with an adviser in student services. Someone will set you on the right track.

5. Go into academic research

Also, if it something that interests you, you should do research as an undergraduate.

Getting more involved in your campus' academic life is a great idea, especially if you are considering graduate work later on.

Lots of research projects need assistants. Pick a department that interests you, ask to meet, and express your desire to work on academic research as an undergrad. You will develop connections, build that network, and take a deep dive into the exciting world of academia. Go for it!

6. Join a sports team

Intramurals and club sports are a great way to get involved in campus sports. You don't need to be a varsity athlete -- you probably don't even have to be an athlete at all. 

If you are looking for camaraderie, exercise, fun, and a way to build friendships, go for it. From dance clubs to intramural frisbee, there's something for everyone. You just have to find it.

Don't know where to start? Ask around - -and check with the student activities office.

7. Check out a lecture series

While the idea of a lecture series may not have you jumping for joy, they are worth checking out. Universities often sponsor lecture series that are open to the public, on a variety of topics. Some departments have them, too. If you are really interested in art or music, or finance and economics, it is worth checking out the events calendars for those departments. You never know what you might find -- and the people you might meet.

8. Volunteer

Serving your campus community often requires you to serve the greater community, too. Check out your student activities office or volunteer office for opportunities. You never know what you might find -- but you are guaranteed to find other students like you who care about helping others.

9. Become a tutor

This is win-win. Earn some cash while helping your fellow students. Tutoring is not only a resume boost, but a great way to develop and nurture positive relationships with your peers and professors. Start in your department, or in a subject where you feel strong. If your campus has a tutoring or academic help office, ask there too.*

Good luck! 

Alyssa Walker is a freelance writer, educator, and nonprofit consultant. She lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire with her family.

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