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Saturday, March 02, 2024

UF features more than 750 student organizations

Thomas Dolce is a busy Gator, but he wasn't always that way.

The English senior has written for Tea Literary Magazine, played on three intramural sports teams and has even held two on-campus jobs since he began attending UF.

But joining clubs and suiting up for the athletic field wasn't his first priority as a freshman.

Dolce said he has no regrets about his lack of involvement then, but he is definitely glad to have taken the plunge into joining student organizations.

"I felt like I was wasting a valuable campus resource," he said.

As a student assistant for the Center for Student Activities and Involvement, Dolce said he understands the importance of getting involved while in college.

"It's a great way to meet people with similar tastes," he said. "Plus, it gets you out of the dorm."

Dolce is one of thousands of UF students who have found it beneficial to become involved in campus organizations.

There are more than 760 registered UF organizations, said Sarah Cunningham, program coordinator of the Center for Student Activities and Involvement.

Many are academic clubs, but there are also social, political and spiritual organizations.

Cunningham said becoming involved with campus organizations helps students find a community away from home, which helps freshmen coping with the transition from high school to college.

Involvement depends on the specific interests of each student.

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Cunningham advises students to become involved with groups that focus on things they are passionate about.

Dolce agrees.

"Don't rush out and join a club just to join," he said. "Join one you are actually interested in."

Aside from having fun, Dolce said the benefits of a joining a campus organization can include meeting new people, gaining valuable leadership experience and boosting a resume.

Cunningham said students learn life skills by participating in clubs.

"Regardless of what field a student plans to go into after graduation, employers look for people with interpersonal skills," Cunningham said.

If students need help with their extracurricular agenda, Cunningham said the organization Ideal can help "chart out your map to involvement."

Ideal works closely with the Center for Student Activities and Involvement, and both are located on the third floor of the Reitz Union.

Ideal offers individual consultations with students who need assistance in choosing organizations to join.

Cunningham said if students do not find what they are looking for, they can start an organization of their own.

Students can get started with this process by stopping by the Center for Student Activities and Involvement office, she said.

Activities are also important to separate students from the schoolwork, which can bog students down, Cunningham said.

Getting involved is as easy as getting out of the classroom and taking a look around campus, she said.

Cunningham encourages students, especially freshman, to check out the student organization fair Sept. 10 and 11.

It will be held on the Reitz Union Colonnade.

Dolce said he is glad he is now so involved at UF.

"The biggest reward of joining clubs is a pot of golden, lasting memories," he said.

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