Getting Involved at American University
January 30, 2017|Posted in: On Campus
Emma Ingram is a sophomore from Andover, Massachusetts. She is currently majoring in Public Relations and Strategic Communications with a minor in Marketing and International business. In this post, Emma talks about getting involved on campus as a new student.
As I began my freshman year at AU, I knew I wanted to get involved on campus whether that meant participating in a club sport team, joining an organization or getting a job. In order to not overwhelm myself during my first year at school, I thought up a plan. I would join one organization during my first semester and then join another during my second semester, this way I would be able to ease myself into getting involved on campus while also still focusing on my classes and the overall transition from high school to college.
So what organization did I get involved with first semester? AU Ambassadors of course! I wanted to be able to share my experience with prospective students about why I chose AU as well as all the wonderful aspects that AU has to offer to its students. By the end of October, I was officially involved with the ambassador program. I began tour training in addition to attending monthly meetings and workshops aimed at helping me develop my professional self.
Fast forward to second semester of my freshman year when I declared my major in Public Relations and Strategic Communication. Sticking to my plan, I knew I wanted to get involved with an additional organization. The thing was, there were so many to chose from! But on my way home from declaring my major with my advisor, a flyer caught my eye. It was advertising the Public Relations Student Society of America, a pre-professional organization for Public Relations students. Having just declared my PR major, I decided to go to their last interest meeting. The meeting was fantastic; I learned everything I needed to know about PRSSA. Each Executive Board member spoke about what their role was in the chapter and how PRSSA has had an impact on their life. Their reasons ranged from broadening their networks, creating relationships with professionals as well as being able to launch their PR career at a young age. Within a week of that meeting, I paid my dues and became a member of the chapter. I attended almost every bi-weekly meeting as well as all the events.
By the time the end of my freshman year rolled around, I had been chosen as the incoming Vice President of PRSSA, as well as one of the Co-Leaders for the Tours Component of AU Ambassadors. Since my year had gone so well, I wanted to add one additional thing to my agenda in preparation for sophomore year, so I got a job at one of the fitness centers on campus.
Looking back, I am extremely happy with how I got involved on campus at AU. I only got more involved when I felt comfortable and I didn’t force too many things onto my plate at once.
In terms of advice for how to get involved on campus, I would say two things. First, figure out what you’re passionate about. Then, look for organizations within your major. For me, joining PRSSA was a way for me to expose myself to the PR field at an early age and begin forming a strong network.
Students at AU continue to get involved on campus because they see that the sacrifice of their time is worth the benefits they receive — the friendships, the level of involvement across campus, the expansion of their professional network, and the amount of fun they can have as a team. I cannot say enough good things about how getting involved at AU has helped shape me as a person. The system I used worked extremely well for me and I’m looking forward to getting more involved during my remaining time at AU.