Getting involved on-campus in the age of COVID-19 has presented many challenges for students. Bobcats have been forced to get creative in finding new ways to reach out to the many clubs and organizations offered.
Reese Thompson, a freshman studying journalism, was eager to get involved as soon as she stepped onto campus. Thompson attended the Involvement Fair at the beginning of the year where she found a connection that got her involved in WOUB.
“I was talking about WOUB to my friend, and a guy in WOUB overheard me talking about it and invited me to the meeting,” Thompson said. “I went the next day and ever since it's been history.”
Kevin Wieging, a freshman studying math education for grades seven through 12, started the school year off in the College of Business. Wieging aimed to get involved in business-related extracurriculars.
“I was in SBA, Sports Business Association, because I started this semester in the College of Business,” Wieging said. “I definitely thought about going into the sports side of things, but after I changed my major, I decided that it was probably best to just not be at the club since I wasn't going to be anywhere near sports in business anymore.”
Since changing his major, Wieging has focused on getting more involved in intramural sports. It was softball and basketball that kept Wieging busy after transitioning to the College of Education.
“I don't remember exactly how I figured it out,” Wieging said. “I just kind of knew going into college that they were gonna have rec sports offered. I think it was more just prior knowledge rather than actually finding out about it.”
Although Wieging had already heard about the programs he’s currently in before joining, other students did some research and found their way into clubs via a completely online route.
Frank Janezic, a freshman studying electrical engineering, joined a fitness organization at the beginning of the fall semester.
“I found them on Bobcat Connect, it's a powerlifting team, and I was interested in getting more into lifting,” Janezic said. “We meet in person, at our own gym usually for training. We also meet up at the Ping Center sometimes.”
Meeting in person is something that Janezic prefers, as he has a hard time focusing online. Janezic is not alone, as many fellow Bobcats also relate.
“To put it in perspective, my GPA has doubled since I've been in person,” Malcolm McCown, a freshman studying exercise physiology, said. “So if that tells you how I feel about online versus in person, that should kind of shove it in the right direction.”
McCown is a member of the OU Air Force ROTC program. McCown came into college already wanting to be a part of ROTC, so finding more information on the program was no challenge for McCown.
Many students face troubles when it comes to getting involved. To help, the freshman above offered advice to current students on how to get involved in the endless activities and programs our campus offers.
“Connections is the number one thing here that will take you far in life, reach out, text, someone, DM them, email them,” Thompson said. “Introduce yourself, even in an email if you're too afraid to confront them in person, just reach out to someone and introduce yourself.”
McCown’s advice is to do some research and find a reason for joining a club.
“Why do you want to join these programs?” McCown said. “What do you want to get out of it? What do you have to offer? Find your reason and set goals and think about your future and what you want to get out of your time here.”
The transition to campus life in general has been anything but normal over the past few semesters. Despite the ever-changing COVID guidelines, Housing and Residence life has remained committed to assisting students.
“Our residence halls continue to offer programming to Bobcats living on campus,” Jen Maskiell, director of Residence Life Operations, said in an email. “In addition, including those Bobcats living off-campus, we would encourage them to visit the involvement calculator.”
Maskiell explained that the involvement calculator is a tool that matches up specific students with their interests. For example, if a student selects that they're interested in hiking, they will get connected with the Hiking Club.
“In addition to the involvement calculator, I'd also recommend that they check out Campus Recreation for a list of programs and services available to keep students active, including intramural and club sports,” Maskiell said in an email. “Also, check out the student page as a valuable resource for all students.”