Spring Involvement Expo 2021

Student organizations recorded short videos to entice new members to join, which were hosted on the online platform Flipgrid for a Digital version of the annual Spring Involvement Expo. Clockwise, from top left: Adrienne Johnson, Charles White, Dejah Mason, Christopher Johnson-Mobley and Molly Motes.

Participating in a student organization or activity rounds out the college experience and provides opportunities that range from making friends to learning skills to establishing the types of connections that ultimately lead to a first post-graduation job.

This year, the Office of Student Involvement at the University of Missouri–St. Louis made sure that, despite precautions to slow the spread of COVID-19, students could still find ways to get involved.

On Wednesday, Student Involvement held a digital version of the Spring Involvement Expo through the platform Flipgrid. The annual event is part of Triton Spring Launch, welcoming programming that began Jan. 11 and concluded Saturday and is intended to aid incoming students as they transition to college.

Student organizations made short introductory videos to entice new members to join. Students ­– new to UMSL or returning – could log in at their leisure and view submissions from 20 participating organizations.

The pitches ranged in subject matter, but common features were the opportunities for the future that the organizations provide.

President of the Political Science Academy Aman Chishti, who explained that the nonpartisan organization works to promote civil discourse and engagement, played heavily upon this theme.

“PSA is a great opportunity to meet not only fellow students but also faculty and get involved with the community at large,” she said. “One fun fact about our organization is that out of our last four presidents, three have actually gone to law school.”

On a similar note, Accounting Club President Connor McGuire said that the organization is a good place to network with local firms of all sizes. Psi Chi, the international honors society in psychology, also highlighted similar opportunities.

“Psi Chi is known for hosting his graduate school information session, and we also frequently let our members know of research opportunities and undergraduate teaching assistantship opportunities,” said Psi Chi President Kendra Clark, who went on to highlight specific events such as resume reviews, research information sessions and a how-to on preparing for job fairs.

Another theme of the event was social opportunities.

“Don’t know what to do this upcoming semester?” said Charles White, executive chair of the University Program Board. “Need a place where you can socialize and make friends? Well, I have the place for you.”

The answer, of course, was UPB, which organizes events at UMSL to “meet the diverse needs and interests of the community.”

Revolution Campus Ministry President Dejah Mason and SGA Representative Christopher Johnson-Mobley emphasized that RCM serves to create meaningful relationships between God and members, especially during “this tough time of COVID.”

In addition to finding community, organizations billed themselves as a way to create an academic or intellectual home.

Lingua brings together foreign language speakers. Opera Theatre unites musicians looking for performance and competition opportunities. The Japan-America Student Association creates opportunities to practice Japanese language and learn about culture.

“We have lots of different fun events every semester, such as a weekly language exchange table where we practice Japanese and English and meet with other students just to chat and practice our language skills,” said Molly Motes, organization president. “We also have other events like monthly game nights and events where you can learn more about Japanese culture, like our annual Japan Day, which is coming up in May. So one fun fact about JASA is we’re actually planning different exchange events with different universities in Japan.”

The takeaway from the event was that no matter how obscure a student’s interests are, there’s an organization at UMSL that will provide opportunities, introduce students to friends and community and more. Students can view the videos from the event or check out all the student organizations on MyEngage.

Jessica Rogen

Jessica Rogen