Interested in hunting for ghosts? We have a club for you. Powerlifting? Ditto. Photography? Ballroom dancing? Sailing? You bet we do.
In fact, you could say there’s something for everyone here. But it goes way beyond that.
The University’s 120 student organizations open a world of opportunities for students—to follow their interests and discover new ones, to get to know others they might not otherwise meet, to celebrate their heritage, to develop leadership skills they didn’t know they had. And to have fun.
Students who are involved in clubs are frequently involved in multiple organizations and strive to achieve leadership positions.
Maureen McDermott, interim director of the URI Memorial Union, has been working with student groups at the University for 30 years.“ I always think about the importance of the connections students make when they arrive on campus as freshmen and how getting involved helps to transform them into contributing members of the URI community,” she says. “Those connections, in turn, give the students a feeling of belonging and having a say in what is important on this campus for them as students.”
Some groups are known by acronyms—MUSIC (Multicultural Unity and Student Involvement Council). BOND (Brothers on a New Direction), PINK (Powerful Independent Notoriously Knowledgeable) Women, SAGE (Student Advancement of Gender Equality), SAWA (Student Alliance for the Welfare of Africa), SOLC (Student Organization Leadership Consultants), and SAVES (Students Actively Volunteering Engaging in Service), just to name a few.
New clubs are formed every year, while some have been part of campus life for decades. Uhuru SaSa, the first multicultural organization on campus, was founded in 1972. “What makes Uhuru SaSa an important organization at URI,” says Regina-Sarah Sarpong, the group’s president, “is our promotion of diversity on campus through Black Unity, Black Togetherness, and Black Pride. We strive to educate our peers, faculty, and staff on multiculturalism and how important it is to be a more culturally inclusive campus. We welcome all!”
For a club to be recognized by the University as a student organization, it must have at least 10 members, a unique mission statement, and follow the requirements established by the URI Student Senate, says Amanda Rode, Student Senate president. She adds that from her experience, the “students who are involved in clubs are frequently involved in multiple organizations and strive to achieve leadership positions.”
The leadership opportunities these clubs provide are a definite benefit for students, says Sheri Davis, Memorial Union coordinator of events and marketing. “They enrich a student’s academic endeavors and connection to the campus community. It’s proven that student success is directly linked to student involvement.”
Students aren’t the only ones who benefit—these clubs also have a major impact on the University, adding the energy, diversity, and commitment that make for a vibrant campus culture, says Tom Dougan, Vice-President for Student Affairs, “providing the URI community with a wealth of programs and activities.”
Take LASA (Latin American Student Association), which is sponsoring a series of special events this week or the Student Entertainment Committee, which is bringing Steve Martin and Martin Short to campus for Family Weekend. And don’t forget the URI Quidditch Club vs. UNH on the Quad on Nov. 15. Take a look at the URI calendar, and you’ll see a range of student organization-sponsored events and activities.
Yes, there’s something for everyone here. And that’s just the beginning.