Why Students Do (Or Don’t) Get Involved on Campus

Emily Teixeira

Pace’s Pleasantville campus offers its students a wide array of clubs, organizations, and activities to get involved in. Students have a variety of reasons for gravitating toward their chosen activities whatever they may be.

Some choose to partake in the activities that they do because they appeal to their interests – like Samantha Voglio, senior Digital Cinema and Filmmaking (DCF) major, who is a member of Pace Book Club, Pace Audio World (WPAW), POWER, and a knitting circle.

“I love reading, I love music, I want to learn more on how to support women’s rights, and I really wanted to learn how to knit,” said Voglio.

It is a similar case with Dotun Obasa, a freshman Computer Science major, and Lorenzo Osorio, a sophomore DCF major. Obasa is a member of One Pace, Pace’s new anime club. He initially joined because he is friends with One Pace’s president, but stayed because he enjoyed their activities.

“I like how often they have de-stress related opportunities to participate in, like de-stress coloring events and stuff like that,” Obasa said.

Meanwhile, Osorio is a member of the Pace Book Club, WPAW, POWER, Pace Pep Band, Lambda Sigma, Alpha Lambda Delta Honors Societies, and an intramural volleyball team. When he first came to Pace, he was drawn to organizations related to music. He joined Pep Band first, and he branched out from there.

“I was very nervous about joining clubs at first, so it was hard for me to get involved,” said Osorio. “I think the biggest factor that led me to join more clubs was making friends through those clubs. Once I knew some people from one club, it made it easier for me to join another, and then the rest sort of fell into place. I joined most of my clubs because I already had friends in them, and I always look forward to seeing them during our weekly meetings. Having that positive encouragement from friends definitely makes me more comfortable when trying new things.”

Other students gravitate towards organizations that offer them valuable opportunities. Lawrence Merriam, a sophomore Business Management major, joined Delta Sigma Pi – a co-ed business fraternity – because he wanted to make more business connections, network, and be part of a group of like-minded, business-oriented individuals. Elizabeth Thomas, a junior Nursing major, is a member of Gamma Sigma Sigma community service sorority, Alpha Lambda Delta and Omicron Delta Kappa Honors Societies, and the National Student Nurses Association. She joined these groups because they would look good on resumes and because they would give her the chance to meet people with similar interests, and with different interests.

Kaylyn Sierra, junior Business Management major, got involved in campus clubs that matched her interests and based on the value each organization offered her. She is the Senior Purchasing Manager for Pace Mart, and she frequently attends events hosted by the Dominican Student Association (DSA).

“I applied for Pace Mart to receive real-world experience while also meeting new people on campus,” said Sierra. “As for the DSA club, the girls were all so nice, and it was fun getting to know people who share and appreciate Hispanic culture.”

Sierra says that she would like to be part of more clubs and activities on campus. However, due to her busy schedule and the difficulty of attending late-night events as a commuter, she has not had the chance to figure out what else might interest her.

Like Sierra, junior Digital Journalism major Kelly Salguero would like to be more involved on campus but says that it is hard for her to get involved as a commuter. She hopes to join Entrance One, Pace’s public relations club, soon. The club meets on the same day as her event planning class, and as a PR minor, she thinks that getting involved with this club would be interesting and a good resume builder.

Last semester, Salguero tried joining Pace Book Club, but she did not stick with it since it did not align with her schedule.

“I have classes mostly in the mornings,” said Salguero. “I’ve seen most of the events are in the afternoons or at night due to residents. I wish I could be more involved in general with any event, any club, anything. It’s just the timing.”

Junior Digital Journalism major Osei Kwame Owusu-Afriyie has friends in a variety of clubs and activities; including e-sports, Criminal Justice Society, and SGA. However, he himself is not involved in any clubs or activities.

“I don’t really do much on campus,” said Owusu-Afriyie. “A lot of events and activities happen later on in the day, so like nine o’clock when most people get out, and by that time you have to do work or you have to study or just go to sleep, so it doesn’t really seem convenient for me to do a lot of these clubs.”

In addition to not having time, Owusu-Afriyie does not see many outlets for his particular interests at Pace. He enjoys music and skateboarding, but there are no skateboarding clubs offered on campus, and while there are student bands, there are few opportunities for them to perform. He would join clubs centered around these topics if other students also expressed interest. However, he does feel that the clubs on Pace’s Pleasantville campus are hard to join because incoming members might not feel welcome.

“A lot of these clubs are kind of small, very niche groups, so it can feel kind of cliquey to people outside of these groups,” said Owusu-Afriyie. “People stick to their own groups and stay that way for the course of their time here.”

Owusu-Afriyie wishes that Pace offered more concerts, performances, and other events that the student body could enjoy together. Sierra agrees.

“I wish there were performances at Pace, maybe plays or dance competitions,” said Sierra. “I think that would be really interesting and engaging for the community as a whole to watch and support.”

Salguero said that she is not sure if Pace offers an art club centered around drawing and painting but thinks it would be cool if it did. She believes that it would draw in a lot of creative individuals and be a lot of fun.

According to Owusu-Afriyie, Salguero, and Sierra, poor timing can make it hard for students to get involved on campus. Owusu-Afriyie believes that cliquey environments make students reluctant to join certain activities and that certain niches are left untapped. Osorio offers his own theory for why students might not get involved.

“It’s really overwhelming for freshmen to see so many different organizations and not know what they’re about, and they usually don’t know anybody well enough to feel comfortable branching out,” said Osorio. “I think a lot of people stay in this phase and end up never getting involved.”

Osorio also believes that the amount of work that certain activities require can be daunting to incoming students, especially when it comes to taking on E-board positions. He describes a vicious cycle, in which students avoid clubs that look like a lot of work, and those clubs struggle to function even more due to low engagement. He feels that clubs with lower engagement may struggle to comply with SGA and Center for Student Enterprise (CSE) regulations, such as having a set number of E-board members and regularly attending Senate meetings.

Even though getting involved on campus is not always an easy commitment to make, Samantha Voglio believes that student involvement is greatly beneficial to individual students and the school as a whole.

“I think it’s important to be involved because while you’re at Pace, this is your community,” said Voglio. “The more that you invest in your community, the better your community becomes. Through being involved, I’ve met friends I’m sure I’ll have for life, and getting involved is the perfect opportunity for lonely students to meet people to really bond with.”