The Pandemic Disconnect
The shift to in-person classes and university life might feel discouraging for many students beginning their second and third years of study. Due to pandemic restrictions, students who started university in 2020 and 2021 could not partake in all on-campus orientation events typically offered to first-year students. For some students who began university during these uncertain times, feeling like an active member of Memorial University’s community remains challenging even as conditions revert to those of a more traditional learning environment.
In a First Year Experience Survey (FYE) sent out to first-year students in 2021, results revealed that very few students who started university online/ remotely felt they were active members of MUN society.
Sadly, only 14.9% of participants indicated that they somewhat or strongly agreed with the statement, “I feel connected to the university community.”
Not only did 2020 and 2021’s first-years miss out on the typical Memorial Welcome, but they were also very limited in their ability to join the clubs, societies, and volunteer since groups were put on pause or significantly modified following health guidelines.
Unsurprisingly given the complex and uncertain conditions of the past two years, student involvement in extracurricular activities has been very low. The 2021 FYE survey highlights that engagement with university extracurriculars was one of the most challenging adjustments for new students in 2021, as 83.7% of participants found “getting involved in university life outside the classroom” to be somewhat or very difficult. Of the students surveyed, only 10.8% joined a club or organization, while a mere 5.6% indicated that they worked with a volunteer organization on campus.
After missing out on many of the opportunities that first-year students get offered, students in their second or third year may feel like the chance to get involved on campus is too late. But this could not be farther from the case. Now is the perfect time to become a more active member of the MUN community. Clubs and societies are beginning to pick up where they left off, and they need active involvement from students to get things up and running in full force again.
How to Get Involved on Campus
There are many ways for students to become more involved with the university. Here are a few suggestions for anyone looking to try something new and become more active members of MUN’s rich and diverse society:
View the “Getting Involved” Page on the University Website
This general overview of how students can get involved on campus is a great place to start for students looking to become more engaged with the MUN community.
Browse the MUNSU Clubs and Societies List
This comprehensive list of student groups highlights the wide variety of organizations students can join with so many different groups available to become a part of if students are bound to find something on this list that interests them.
*However, if a club or society is not on the list that a student is interested in, MUNSU encourages them to start one themselves! Click here for more information on how to start an official MUNSU club or society.*
Visit the Student Experience Office
The Student Experience Office offers a wide variety of services that are perfect for students new to the Memorial community or those who want to maximize their engagement with their learning environment. The Student Experience Office is located in room 3005 of the University Centre and is open Monday – Friday from 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Find a Volunteer Position
Many on-campus organizations actively seek new volunteers; for a list of volunteer opportunities and a guide to choosing a volunteer position, visit MUN’s volunteer page.
Volunteer with The Muse
Speaking of volunteering, The Muse is always looking for new members. Students interested in becoming a writer for the editorial should contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reach Out to Faculty Members
Contact department heads or academic advisors for more information on the opportunities available within the faculty to get involved in activities more specific to a particular area of study.
Keep an Eye Out for Upcoming Events and Opportunities
Getting involved with the university doesn’t have to involve a lengthy commitment. A great way to get closer to MUN society is to attend events on campus. Check out MUN’s Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram pages for updates on future events. Also, be sure to keep an eye out for flyers and posters around campus advertising points of interest for students.
Hang out at The Breezeway
Memorial’s student-owned and operated bar, The Breezeway, is an excellent place for students 19+ to spend time with their fellow students in a fun environment without having to leave the campus. After a renovation, The Breezeway is now open and looking better than ever! Many events are scheduled in the bar, including concerts and open mic nights. The bar is on the first floor of the UC. Be sure to check out the Grand Opening on September 23rd.
The most important thing to remember for new and returning students is to take advantage of any intriguing opportunities around campus.
There is never a wrong time to make the most of all Memorial’s experiences.