To incoming freshman, Mizzou is the place to be. Summer is coming to an end and the fall semester is quickly approaching. Summer Welcome was in full swing during late June. Incoming students and their families come in during the orientation week to find and sign up for the organizations best suited for them.
Alex Carranza was an active participant and councilman of the Multicultural Center Club before graduating earlier this year. The Multicultural Center is one of five social justice centers on MU’s campus, but falls under the umbrella of inclusion, diversity and equity.
“We hold multitudes of different organizations that support and recognize marginalized students on campus,” Carranza said.
The Multicultural Center also has initiatives such as Diversity Peer Educators and the Forefront, which is the marginalized student government. The groups vary with different students from around the world joining the group.
“We welcome the Asian American Association and Allah’s Association of Latin America,” Carranza said. “Underneath that there’s smaller and more specific organizations we accompany to.”
Specifically, the AAA and the Allah’s are not identity based. This allows for student not fully involved in the culture to still be a part of the community and feel welcomed.
“I think as staff and students, we work to always be inclusive and recognize each others experiences,” Carranza said. “We do that by setting up environments and spaces that are welcoming and friendly.”
With more than 700 groups on campus, it is understandable that standing out as a club can be difficult at times. With organizations such as True Tiger, being loud and proud has never been an issue. This club has been able to find success all over campus. Sophomore Carolyn Russell is studying health science and is involved in the program.
“True Tiger is the student chapter of the alumni organization at Mizzou,” Russell said. “We do different things such as Football Fridays, give out donuts and coffee during finals week, host resume reviews and financial workshops, and we also run a mentoring program.”
Since MU is such a big university, joining True Tiger allows students and others all over campus to find themselves in such a big public setting.
“True Tiger stands out because we are the largest organization on campus,” Russell said. “It is also a good way to build your Mizzou spirit.”
One of the positive effects of True Tigers has been a closer relationship between current and past students. Everyone is encouraged to sign up and become a participant to grow stronger connections to students on campus and the alumni around the nation.
“Students can join True Tiger by signing up at Summer Welcome or throughout the school year,” Russell said. “Applicants fill out a short form, and those students will get benefits such as 25% off at the Mizzou Store and a free shirt.”
Choosing which club to join can be intimidating for some. However, the Involvement Ambassadors club makes it easy. Junior Maddie Shafer, who is studying international business and Spanish, is an active participant in the Involvement Ambassadors club. The organization allows her to work with a group of experienced students who are available for one-on-one consultations to underclassmen. This club’s aim is to connect fellow students to resources and help them in getting involved on Mizzou’s campus.
“We work with any student starting as a freshman on their first day up until they graduate Mizzou,” Schafer said. “They sign up through the same website as the academic advising. From there, we help with finding the initial organizations, but if someone wanted to come back, we also help with leadership.”
In addition, to make sure the communication is strong throughout the freshman college-experience, the club uses the information gathered at Summer Welcome to also keep the connection with new members.
“We offer consultations that are easy to sign up for online,” Schafer said. “With the sign-up we send you a monthly newsletter about the new upcoming events around campus, application deadlines and tips to help with your major.”
Schafer said the office receive emails daily from alumni who share their gratitude for the club.
“Involvement Ambassadors started around five years ago,” Schafer said. “It is nice to see students get excited about something they are really passionate about and how our club helped them get to that point.”
Columbia Newcomers Club
In addition to the True Tiger, Multicultural Center and Involvement Ambassadors clubs, there are many other clubs and organizations on and off-campus that can benefit new and current students. A group that attracts both Columbia residents and Mizzou students is the Columbia Newcomers Club. This organization accepts all and aids in organizing volunteer opportunities and promoting community inclusion. One of the events it holds is a coffee hangout, every third Thursday of the month at 10 a.m.
Another popular club right in the heart of campus is MU’s Best Buddies program, which is a nonprofit organization with chapters in many high schools across the country. According to the OrgSync website, Best Buddies is “dedicated to establishing a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).” Everyone is encouraged to join Best Buddies to help make a difference in a student’s life.
If you are the type of person who likes to get up and move, the Center Stage club may be for you. Students in this organization offer free dance lessons to children from Columbia. It’s a great way to get your exercise in, and at the end of each semester, there is a recital at Jesse Hall to show the campus what the children have learned. Center Stage offers many types of dance, including jazz, ballet, hip hop and pom. Classes are available Monday to Thursday in Strickland Hall.
With all these new and improved clubs on campus, students have multiple opportunities for getting involved. MU offers more than 700 organizations in order to fit the likings of almost every student and help them get integrated in the Mizzou community.
Haley Derdiger is a student at Plano West Senior High School in Plano, Texas. Daniel Murnin is a student at Rockwood Summit High School in Fenton, Mo. Caroline Stiff is a student at Cypress Woods High School in Cypress, Texas. Brook Swiontek is a student at Lake Park High School in Roselle, Illinois. Brea Williams is a freshman at MU. She graduated from Blue Springs South High School in Blue Springs, Missouri.