As the fall semester kicks off with a record number of incoming first-year and transfer students scrambling to attend their first week of classes, settling down in their quaint dorms, and getting to know new faces; the question undoubtedly arises of what a new student can do with their free time in a fun and hopefully productive manner.
Student organizations offer students the opportunity to escape from the exhausting studies at Tech and enjoy the company of others that have the same interests.
While student organizations have had opportunities to reach out to incoming students by way of FASET and various exhibitions around campus during the first week, the dizzying number of student government boards, fraternities and sororities, recreational and sports clubs and honor societies may leave some first-year students overwhelmed.
With over 350 organizations to choose from, it isn’t hard for a new student to find one that’s just right for him or her. “I was interested in [GT] Trailblazers because I like being outdoors and I already know people in it,” said Casey Little, a first-year ARCH.
“I’m looking at Runnin’ Wreck, though someone from [GT] Triathlon tried to recruit me.”, said Lilly Burken, another first-year ARCH.
However, as the semester has just begun and new students are acclimating themselves to the college environment, some have yet to decide or even begin looking for an extracurricular organization.
“I’m definitely looking for something that’ll help me with my academics, maybe like a fraternity,” said Myeung Oh, an Undecided Engineering first-year.
Others are even more ambiguous, yet eager, to find something they’ll fit into.
“[I’m looking for] something that could make my stay in GA Tech rocking,” said Vineet Desai, a first-year ISyE.
While students wandering around campus will almost undoubtedly encounter a student organization actively recruiting members on campus or promoting their organization, a few are hesitant about their choices due to either being unable to find a list of organizations or not being sure about joining one.
With so many different choices it could be difficult for some students to make a decision regarding where they spend their leisure time.
“I’ve been thinking about joining the CSA (Chinese Student Organization), but it’s kind of ambiguous and hard to find for me,” said Coby Lu, a first-year CompE.
Whatever new students are doing these first few important weeks, one place to look for all the chartered student organizations is at Cyberbuzz, which also lists contact information and meeting times/places.
There are a myriad of religious and cultural organizations available, enough to include pretty much any faith and background, many of which host activities and outreach programs for their members and to the public alike.
New students living on East Campus will find it hard to miss the rows of fraternity and sorority houses located there, especially with the recent fall rush to bring new pledges into their brother and sisterhoods.
Those looking to get involved with student affairs can look at the various committees like SGA (Student Government Association) or by applying for one of the five Freshman Leadership Organizations (FLOs), organizations that offer leadership service and event opportunities exclusively freshmen.
Recreational and leisure activities that run the range from archery, dancing and hiking to anime, video game design and robotics can be found all over campus as well, representing a huge variety of interests and passions available to students.
For new students that still remain stumped on what they should join, simply ask students who have been here longer or just attend a meeting and correspond with an organization’s members. There are almost always students that are willing to talk about their experiences.
Student organizations rarely turn away the chance to have fresh blood in their group, and it’s all too likely that finding a suitable fit will bring a first-year student good friends and memories to last throughout the college experience.