With plenty of sunshine and blaring music in the background, there was a festive mood set for Wednesday’s annual Fall Involvement Jamboree at the University of Missouri–St. Louis. Students made their way through the booths set up on the lawn outside the Millennium Students Center, and they had a chance to visit with representatives of 50 students organizations and some departments.
Sponsored by the Office of Student Involvement, the event gave students a chance to find opportunities to be involved on campus with groups that aligned with their interests.
Some students did, in fact, find exactly what they were looking for.
Junior Rebecca Bolin, who is majoring in liberal sciences with an emphasis in anthropology and sociology, has a musical background and reconnected with her love of singing by visiting the UMSL Department of Music’s table and learning about the newly formed Voices of Jubilation community gospel choir.
“I was thinking, ‘Oh, they might have choirs set up,’” she said. “I’ve done music my entire life, and when I was at a community college, we also worked with the UMSL choir once in a collaboration. They were really good to work with. So I was thinking this might be a good time to get back into vocal choir.”
Arlen Smart, a sophomore studying information systems and technology, was looking for opportunities to connect with nonprofits. He found two organizations and hopes to carve out time between his studies and internship to be of assistance in different communities. He also wants to one day teach young children how to play golf as well as found a golf club on campus.
Mindy Dilley, the associate director of the Office of Student Involvement, wanted students, particularly freshmen, to know that there are communities to welcome them and chances to engage with activities and causes that speak to them.
“I just want them to see that we have a lot of options,” Dilley said. “Hopefully, they’ll see if they’re interested in a particular affinity group. Even if a student doesn’t find a group here, there’s still other groups on Triton Connect, and they could potentially even create their own.”
Corey Hancock, who is getting his PhD in counseling, also thought about starting a chess club when he realized one didn’t already exist on campus. He did so in March, and it already has 40 members. Hancock was happy to be at the Jamboree and get students interested in the game and chess community.
“It was already kind of kicking off as a casual club,” said Hancock, who is the club’s president. “I just happened to do the paperwork.”
Hancock thought joining the Involvement event would be one of the best ways to get the word out about their student association to bolster membership.
“Most of how we started was just word of mouth,” Hancock said. “We haven’t really done any work outside of just finding people who are casually playing and saying, ‘Hey, do you want to join the chess club?’ So we’re really excited to be in front of the general population.”
Another new endeavor that debuted at the event was Triton Traditions, an initiative out of the Office of Alumni Engagement.
The initiative features 63 challenges that can be captured in photos and uploaded in Triton Connect.
“Some are things you would normally encounter in student life, like going to the gym, the Involvement Jamboree or meeting with your advisor,” said Mary Bosnick, the associate director of alumni engagement. “Then we want to give them swag for it, and if you complete 40 of the 63, you’ll get a commencement medal that says you were a Triton traditions keeper.”
In addition to newer offerings, longstanding groups continued to recruit UMSL students.
Marcia Countryman, an associate teaching professor of accounting, represented the Accounting Club and wanted all students to know how much it has to offer. From helping with the accounting curriculum to assisting with securing internships, the student association’s mission is tied to student success.
“We do a meeting about navigating the accounting program,” she said. “So we talk about a lot of our students or transfer students coming in. We help them transition to our accounting program from the community colleges and help them get to know what classes they need to take and how to be successful in the program.
“What I love about our Accounting Club events is they’re focused on freshmen, sophomores and new students. The students can come in totally informal, totally casual without any prep and meet the firms, and the firm representatives will tell the students about internships with scholarships available and leadership teams.”
The Office of Student Involvement holds the Jamboree each semester. But if a student wants to find ways to be involved on campus before the spring, Triton Connect has a listing of all student organizations.