Getting Involved at UF, part 1

Before college, I was crazy involved in high school. I knew that I would become involved at UF but I didn’t know where to start. This is the first sentence of UF’s Department of Student Activities and Involvement:

“Student Activities and Involvement is home to a diverse group of over 1,000 registered student organizations. These unique University of Florida organizations have critical impact on the student experience, providing opportunities for leadership development, social interaction, entertainment and education.”

I came from a high school that only had 900 students, middle AND high school students combined, so joining a club at UF was extremely overwhelming. I’ve started to find new clubs and organizations but each organization has a different purpose, reach, and audience so it’s different for everyone.

This will be a two-part blog post. This blog entry will focus on what I have done in regards to getting involved on campus and the next blog post will be programs geared for minorities such as Asian and Black students and of course, Hispanic and/or Latinos.

I was heavily involved with student government in high school and I mean heavily. When I was a junior campaigning to be president, I bought a six-foot long banner with me and my VP’s face on it AND had t-shirts professionally made… Definitely worth it because being student body president my senior year of high school was my favorite thing ever.

I’m not sure if I want to get into student government here at UF but I did apply to be apart of Chomp the Vote, an organization under the Executive Branch of UF’s Student Government. I was chosen to be Co-Director of Promotional Materials, something I find very interesting. It worked out perfectly because my first semester in CTV corresponded with the National Election.

It didn’t take long to find a home with the Colombian association on campus, PorColombia. It felt great to meet other Colombians and share a space with others who share my culture. I’ve made my own group of friends in the organization and cherish so many memories with them. PorColombia is a sub-organization under Hispanic Student Association, which we’ll go over in the next blog post.

I heard about LEAP, Latino Educational Advancement Program, through Hispanic-Latino Affairs’s Facebook page and applied. I had no idea what to expect but I was down to try it out! I was part of the first cohort since it was a completely new program and I absolutely loved it. The mentor they gave me has become a good friend of mine who is guiding me through my second semester and cheering me on. I’ve made friends with other first-year Latino students and even took a LEAP friend with me on a date function for my sorority! Sometimes the unexpected club turn out to be one of the best club you join.

Obviously, I’m involved with a Panhellenic sorority. If you didn’t know that, here’s that post. Greek life isn’t for everyone but rather than giving in to all the preconceived notions you’ve heard, try it out for yourself!

I am also involved with Machen Florida Opportunity Scholars, an amazing program that is geared towards low-income, first generation students. This program specializes in providing over 1,200 students with financial and campus resources. This basically means I received a full-ride scholarship and have a support system from MFOS. I was chosen to be an ambassador which means representing the program in front of UF staff or donors from across the nation.

This is just some of the organizations I have constantly kept up with! There are so many organizations that it feels like shopping, you try out a club like you do a dress until you find the perfect one. Some good advice that was given to me, I will now pass onto you:

“Choose 3 clubs. Choose a club where you can socialize with others, a club for your professional career goals, and a club in a subject you want to learn more about.”

While my clubs may not work for someone else, it works for me. The next blog post will show clubs for minorities and clubs specifically for Hispanic and/or Latinos.

**I’ve linked the Facebook pages for all the organizations I’m involved with because it is more personable. See what the clubs are doing instead of the professional page where everything looks intimidating.

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