Now that you know how to eat and sleep, and have realized that you have worse hand-eye coordination than a D7 athlete, what else is there to do? Student groups. Beyond the necessities of living and academics, extracurriculars are fundamental to “the Wesleyan experience” (some might even say they spend more time and effort on extracurriculars than academics). There are over 300 student groups to pick from, and many of them will be enticing, so choose wisely.
Consider the rule of seven:
if you halve your years then add seven, you’ll have the youngest decent age for a partner you should only commit yourself to seven major activities in any given semester. Each course counts as one, as do many jobs, sports teams, and student groups. While every commitments requires a different level of time and energy, and every person has different capabilities, this is a good general rule to keep in mind. Word on the street is that the rule has been spread on campus by Professor Joyce Jacobsen, but that can’t be confirmed.
While officially recognized by the WSA, Wesleyan’s student groups operate with a fair degree of autonomy and all have preferences for how do they choose to advertise themselves. While the diversity of expression might have its benefits, the lack of consistency also makes it difficult to find them.
Student Group Directory
By far the most comprehensive list of student groups is the WSA Student Groups Directory, which exists just to serve that purpose. To see all of the groups that were active last year, head over to the WSA website. The groups are organized by broad categories, which may (or may not) help you find what you’re looking for. In case you wonder in the first few seconds of scrolling, yes, everyone does consider themselves an activist. Navigating the list, you might want to use your browser’s find function (CTRL+f/CMD+f) to search for certain terms that might be in a group name. Even if you don’t know the name of a group, take a wild guess like searching “debate” to end up at the Woodrow Wilson Debate Society, categorized under Other. Each group’s profile has basic information listed, including a description, meeting date/time/location, and the name of the group officers. Some groups have also included links to their group email address, listserve, and/or website. Note that the 330 groups listed at the moment are the ones that were recognized for the 2011-2012 year. There is no guarantee that there are plans in place for their return this year, but feel free to contact group leaders with questions.
The Rest of the Internet
While the Student Group Directory has the longest list of student groups, you probably want more information. Many student groups maintain websites, though some are more actively updated than others. Many registered student groups have WordPress-based websites on the school’s dedicated student group server, through the WSA. There are currently just over 50 of these groups, and they have addresses at .stugroup.wesleyan.edu (which will become just .group.wesleyan.edu on August 28, 2012). Check out sites like those belonging to Men’s Water Polo, the 8-t0-8 listening service, IMPACT, and the Freeman Asian Scholars Association (FASA). Student groups also have the option of sites at .wsa.wesleyan.edu, but the only one to really have one right now is the Environmental Organizers Network (EON).
Websites not in the Student Group Directory are difficult to come by, but check out the Student-Run category of Wesleying‘s Links page. If your student group has an actively maintained website you’d like us to include, shoot an email to staff[at]wesleying[dot]edu. We’ll also be publishing a Social Media guide next week as part of the Unofficial Orientation Series that will feature student group profiles. Since many student groups submit events to Wesleying throughout the school year, try searching for a group in the search bar on the top right to get an idea of their events and activities. Similarly, try searching at wesleyanargus.com for any potential Argus coverage of group activities. Also, try Google. It seems fairly obvious, but many a student claims not to have access to information that is easily retrievable by conducting a simple web search. Don’t be that kid.
WSA Student Group Fair
Possibly the best place to find student groups you’ll love is the WSA Student Group Fair. The Fall Student Groups Fair, now in its 21st year, will feature about 170 groups this year. You’ll get to see the bulk of your options laid out before your eyes, and it might be a good test of what groups have their stuff together. Many groups have attractive displays and enthusiastic people representing them. How better to learn about a group than asking someone who’s already in it? Also, since the fair is open to groups who have not registered with the WSA, groups like Wesleying will be there. You can be there, too. Check out this year’s fair on Facebook.
WARNING: Student group leaders can be very seductive. They will bribe you with their smiles, cupcakes, and other shenanigans to sign up for their listserv. Since the fair takes place on a Friday afternoon, allowing yourself to be seduced a little is okay. However, if you genuinely don’t see yourself joining the group in the long term, do not sign up. Many a naïve freshman makes this grave error. Unlike that one-night stand you mistakenly forgot to give your number to, these groups elevate to stalker status when they hound you with emails from their listservs and then ignore your repeated demands to take you off the mailing list.
Many student groups have interest meetings during the first few weeks of the year. Umbrella groups, such as the Environmental Organizers Network (EON) or the University Organizing Committee are useful resources not only for themselves but also for the many other groups associated with them. The first EON meeting, for instance, generally gives all environmental groups on campus the opportunity to advertise. If you signed up for a group’s listserv, you’ll hear about it that way a few times. For other groups, check Wesleying for event posts and look around for posters, chalking, and other tactics. The Usdan bulletin board is always notoriously overstuffed with posters for these and just about anything else.
Want to create your own?
It’s easy! Student groups are officially registered to and recognized by the Wesleyan Student Assembly (WSA)’s Community Outreach Committee (COCo). Groups primarily receive funding for their activities from the WSA’s Student Budget Committee (SBC), as well as other sources such as the office of Student Activities & Leadership Development (SALD). COCo and SALD also support student groups in a variety of ways throughout the year. Detailed instructions about this year’s group registration/recognition process will be posted very soon. Questions about group registration/recognition can be directed to Syed Ali ’13 (full disclosure: that’s me) at sali[at]wesleyan[dot]edu. Questions about SBC funding can be directed to Nicole Brenner ’15 at nbrenner[at]wesleyan[dot]edu.