As I embark on my first full year here at Penn State York, seeing new students and being new myself to the Penn State family, it makes me think of my own undergraduate experience. This past summer was my five-year anniversary from my undergraduate graduation and it was a good time to reflect on my life and where I’ve been and what I’ve accomplished. In regards to the latter, if I didn’t have the wonderful college experience that I had, I would not be where I am today, and that is what I wish to express to you today.
College is a chance for your student to really discover who they are and what they want to do with their life. My discovery was through great friends, amazing staff that became mentors, and being involved in my college experience. As the associate director of Student Affairs at Penn State York, it is my goal and initiative to make sure that your student has the best possible experience while they are here on our campus and help them in any way I can to find involvement on campus through our many different student clubs and organizations.
Some of our more prominent student organizations on campus are the Student Government Association (SGA), THON, Lion Ambassadors, Blue & White Society, etc. To go into a little bit more detail, the Student Government Association is the representative voice of the student body on campus and deals with campuswide issues and governance to promote student welfare. THON is the Penn State Dance Marathon that for three decades has raised more than $78 million and helped thousands of children and families fight pediatric cancer. Lion Ambassadors are current students who promote the campus to prospective students, their parents, and the community. The Blue & White Society aims to enhance student life through promoting Penn State pride, community service, and dedication to the University.
Getting involved in these sorts of groups can only help your student as they progress through college and into the working world. It’s proven that getting involved in college increases the likelihood that students stay in school and develop a sense of community on campus, receive better grades, are more marketable when they are applying for grad school or jobs, while having tons of fun in the process.
There are several ways that your student can get involved on campus if they choose to. We have more than twenty student organizations and if they don’t see anything that they might be interested in, it’s simple to start one up! All they need is four other interested students besides themself, a faculty or staff adviser and a constitution! We are also going to be having Club Rush on Thursday, August 30 from 12:00-1:30 p.m. outside of the Joe and Rosie Ruhl Student Community Center (Ruhl). This is an opportunity for our student organizations to set up a table promoting their organization to the student body and a chance for new students to browse around and see what organization they might want to join and get involved with.
Before any of this even begins, though, there is New Student Orientation on Friday, August 24 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. This is your student’s chance to meet other classmates before classes start, make some new friends, all while learning more about Penn State York, our history, our traditions, our spirit, and really get excited for the new year. To cap off the day, we will close with Kelly Taylor, who is a national touring comedian. Afterwards, students are encouraged to stick around and continue socializing over at the Ruhl Building for some late night activities that will conclude around 9:00 p.m.
I have lofty goals for this year and one of them is increasing student involvement on campus and completely revamping the way that we put on programs and especially catering to what students want to see and do while they attend Penn State York. I want and yearn for student involvement and encouraging your student to stick around campus and get involved is of great support to me. By being involved, students learn so much out of the classroom, such as skills dealing with time management, leadership, conflict resolution, communication, etc. Also, students have the opportunity to really make a difference on our campus and leave a legacy after they leave and graduate that they can be extremely proud of when they look back on their college years.
If there is anything that I may help you with during this transition for your student, I would be more than happy to assist in any way and answer any questions that you may have. I am always an e-mail or phone call away. Remember this, involvement brings opportunity. . . the choice is up to your student.