The semester is undeniably settling into a rhythm, with social clubs entering the third week of mixers and classes nearing the midterm mark. However, there are still many opportunities for every student to find their place to belong at Harding.
The annual organizations fair will take place on the front lawn from 6-8 p.m. tonight. Over 30 Harding organizations signed up to attend, and students can explore opportunities for involvement on campus.
Caitlin Denton, assistant director of First Year Experience and students in transition, helped organize the event this year. She said students aren’t always aware of the various clubs and organizations open to them.
“Social clubs are great, but they’re not everybody’s interest,” Denton said. “[The organizations fair] is just a different way to show how many other options there are at Harding. It’s for people who are in social clubs and people who aren’t in social clubs; it’s for everybody. There are just so many different groups and so many different interests at Harding, so this is just our way of trying to let people know what’s here.”
According to Denton, there are over 100 organizations at Harding. She said though not every group will be present for the event, students should actively search for a way to get plugged in on campus.
Senior Mary Kathryn Wicker is one such student who has found her place. A sports and recreation management major, Wicker is the student founder of a new club on campus, HU Explore. Wicker said the group’s goal is to provide relevant opportunities to connect students who are passionate about outdoor recreation.
“When I first came to Harding, I didn’t know anybody,” Wicker said. “So for people like me, getting plugged in helps transition from high school where you know everybody to college where you don’t know a lot of people. It helps you find good, close friends with the same interests as you, so I think it’s important.”
Denton said there’s much more to the college experience than just going to classes. She said connections are key during this time, and looking into joining an organization is a great way to be open to that.
“[Joining an organization] is just a really good way to meet so many people and connect with other people,” Denton said. “If you don’t connect with people while you’re here, then you’re not going to enjoy your time. At least, you won’t make the best use of your time here if you don’t get to know other people.”
Junior Darlynn Wan is a Student Association international representative. She said being willing to meet and talk to other people helped her get plugged in to the Harding community after moving from China.
“I think for freshmen, what they need to do to get involved is step out of their comfort zones,” Wan said. “Go to the activities just to have fun … If you miss them, you’re going to regret it at some point in the future. There are a lot of people out there willing to talk to you and make friends with you, it’s just you need to see those opportunities.”
New Student Organizations
Harding AERO: AERO is a new organization centered around radio controlled aircraft. AERO is looking for any students interested in engineering, design, marketing and flying to join the club.
Pre-PT Organization: The Pre-Physical Therapy Organization’s goal is to help students learn about the prerequisites they’ll take in the program. They also bring in guest speakers to describe their PT school experiences. Another benefit of the organization is networking with other students who want to go into PT.
Pre-Optometry Club: The Pre-Optometry Club is building awareness of the current optometry profession and graduate school opportunities as well as coordinating shadowing and volunteering opportunities for its members.