(opinions) campus involvement

2019 Gobblerfest, Sept. 6 2019

Within the 2,600 acres of Virginia Tech’s campus, there are 905 student organizations, from The Bagel Club to Swine Club. With some academic, a few food-related, several cultural and various others, there is seemingly a club for anything that may come to mind. Made up of some of the thousands of students that have dedicated themselves to a common cause, our organizations represent the diversity and character of Virginia Tech.

These organizations are such a big part of our community that it is almost a rite of passage to explore them all –– and collect free stuff from them –– at Gobblerfest within your first weeks here as a new student. From then on, involvement is unique to each student. The combinations of what organizations they decide to join, the goals they pursue and the positions they take on are endless.

For Grace Stevens, a junior double-majoring in international relations and Spanish, involvement was never a question, but the answer surprised her anyways.

“I’ve always enjoyed playing an active role in my community, so I knew I wanted to find at least one organization to devote time to in college, since one organization, Model United Nations, played a large role in my high school experience, giving me tangible professional skills, as well as a supportive community,” Stevens said. “Coming to Virginia Tech, I didn’t really know what my options were for getting involved, nor did I expect to find so many organizations that I connected with, but I have been fortunate to find many pockets of people and ideas that I am passionate about.” 

Stevens now stands as vice president of the Class of 2021, the director of communications of the Student Alumni Associates, the vice president of membership for Omicron Delta Kappa, Hokie Ambassador, a Relay for Life committee member, and a First Year Leadership Experience (FLEX) mentor and ambassador for the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences.

Though this list may seem daunting, motivation is drawn from our very own motto, Ut Prosim.

“I think the work I do on campus is rewarding for me, personally, because I enjoy being a part of a team that is working towards a common cause to make campus better, or at least more enjoyable in some regard,” Stevens said. “Serving on Ring Dance committee allows me to be a representative for my class and, ultimately, produce an event that my classmates will hopefully remember years down the road. I love being able to have a direct impact on my peers; it is really rewarding to see people enjoy and grow from the work my campus organizations do.”

While enhancing our university, being a part of these organizations also comes with a personal experience unlike any other that carries on even after a diploma is in hand. This is another motivating factor for students like Sneha Kripanandan, a sophomore majoring in computer science, who is part of Virginia Tech Dhamaal and the Honors College Living-Learning Community in East Ambler-Johnston while also serving as co-head of the Public Relations and Marketing Team of SheHacks.

“It makes me feel like I’m getting the best out of my college experience and really being present here at Virginia Tech and not taking for granted all the things that are going on,” Kripanandan said. “The more you get involved the more you learn to love the place. I think that the clubs and organizations that you become a part of really are what enhance your experience here and those are the people that you’re going to remember after college is over.”  

The work that students do in their respective organizations gives Virginia Tech a certain charm, one that has been recognized on the national front as Virginia Tech has become the largest Relay for Life event hosted by a college. Yet, this is only one of the many large-scale events and volunteering efforts from one of many organizations that we hold as a university. For this legacy to carry on, it is imperative that we continue to be involved on campus, maintain a welcoming and safe community and encourage our peers to do the same. The work that students like Stevens and Kripandandan do to run and promote these organizations fosters the atmosphere and reputation that our campus prides itself on, made by and for the students.


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