Getting involved is a great way to complement your academic experience, to gain leadership skills, and to learn how to work with others.  This list of frequently asked questions provides a snapshot at the most common questions or barriers to involvement.  We hope this information is helpful and please reach out to our office with any question that you may have!

Why is it important to get involved during my first year at the University of Alabama?

Student involvement is an essential part of the UA experience. Balancing student involvement with academic excellence is the best way to ensure a dynamic and enriching educational experience.  In addition to providing you with real world learning opportunities, co-curricular involvement gives you the chance to engage with other members of the UA community.  As a new member of the UA community these involvement opportunities will be at your finger tips from day one; it is your choice whether to take advantage of all of the resources and opportunities that are available.  It is important to note, however, that what you take from this campus what largely depend upon what you choose to do while you are here; the more time and effort you invest, the more you will benefit from your time here.  The sooner you get involved in the co-curricular activities that interest you, you sooner you will connect with others who share your interest and begin to engage in hands-on learning in a real world environment.

I was really involved in high school; how can I get involved at the University?

There are many ways to get involved during your freshman year at The University of Alabama. Freshman Forum offers a unique leadership development experience for freshman students and gives students a chance to survey the different areas of involvement on campus and develop relationships with student leaders. Also, many high school organizations have related organizations at the University level. Check the Student Organization Directory to see if there is a chapter of the organization in which you are interested currently on campus. If you have a variety of interests, fill out the Involvement Inventory, and a staff member in the Office of Student Involvement will work with you to find organizations that fit your specific interests.

What if I have a hard time meeting people?

You are not the only person who may feel uncomfortable wandering into a room full of strangers or meeting new peers.  As hard as it may be, it is a little easier to do if you know that you have something in common with those people.  By searching for organizations and groups that focus on topics or do activities that you find interesting, you know that you will have something to talk about with everyone in that room.   You can find a list of all student organizations on the Student Organization Directory, attend Get on Board Day, and look up groups and group members on Facebook. Fill out the Interest Inventory to find out what organizations best match your individual interests. When you find an organization or group that you like, you can contact the leaders of the organization to let them know you are interested in getting involved.  Additionally, we have a team of your student peers called Involvement Geniuses that can help you learn more about involvement or even accompany you to a first organization meeting!  Finally, our office hosts informal “Organization Mixers” in the fall that are a much more relaxed environment than the bustle of GOBD.  To learn more about our schedule for mixers, check out our Events Page.

You can also contact our office with any questions, or if you would like to meet with a staff member.

My brother/sister/cousin/friend said I should get involved in _______________; should I?

This person may be right, but only if they made the suggestion based on your interests and skills. There is no “right” or “wrong” way to be a student at The University of Alabama.  You have the freedom to define and achieve excellence in your own way and on your own terms. The most important thing to consider when determining your path here at UA is what you want out of your college experience!

I feel overwhelmed by the amount of things I can do here; how can I find where I fit?

The best way to know where you fit is to know who you are, what you have passion for, and what resources are available to you. The UA campus has so much to offer that it is difficult to understand everything that is happening. Many times students have passion and energy, but they do not know where to target their efforts.

The Office of Student Involvement is in place to help you direct your efforts. The experienced staff is highly knowledgeable of events, organizations and departments on campus. If you would like to set up a meeting with someone on our staff member, please contact us.

How can I encourage my friends or roommates to get involved?

You can encourage your friends to seek out involvement in the same way you would recommend a movie or a good place to eat! Try it out and then tell them about your experiences. Apply what you know about your friends (interests, schedules, personalities) when you make recommendations. Offer to take them with you when you go to a campus event, and introduce them to a few people while you’re there to help break the ice.

Should I declare a major before getting involved on campus?

Your major does not have to determine your involvement. Many students have found their major through their involvement. Find something you enjoy doing. Even if it doesn’t end up being your major, at least you enjoyed it while you were involved and you were doing something productive during your time of exploration. To find something that matches your interests, please fill out the Interest Inventory and a Student Involvement staff member will work with you to find organizations in which you may want to get involved.

How can getting involved on campus help me reach my career goals?

Getting involved can potentially help you meet faculty and staff members or other professionals with experience in your field. Plus, as you get more involved in an organization, you’ll have the opportunity to practice leadership skills, which are transferable to your career. In today’s competitive job market, employers look for students who are well-rounded and have not simply spent their college years attending class. Get involved in organizations that interest you and taking leadership roles in those organizations will give you skills that are highly marketable to future employers and will cause you to stand out in the applicant pool.

Is there a such thing as being “too involved”?

Yes. If you are involved in a combination of activities that limits your ability to enjoy experiences of high quality you are too involved. Being involved in 1-3 groups that allow for meaningful personal growth can be much more valuable than simply being listed among the membership rosters of 15 organizations.  We typically encourage students to find something that speaks to your passion, find an organization that ties to your career aspirations, and find one organization to stretches you outside your comfort zone or exposes you to a new concept/idea.

Prioritize the activities you are interested in, and be selective when making commitments. If you realize you’ve gotten in over your head, its better to resign from a position and let someone else step up to lead than to try to juggle and “drop the ball.”

What if being Greek is not for me?

That’s okay. You are in the majority. About 60% of UA students choose not to participate in Greek life. UA offers close to 600 student organizations that are academic, political, service-oriented, cultural, or religious in nature and more. If these organizations are not exactly what you are looking for, you can start your own organization. Visit the Student Organization Directory to search for organizations in which you may want to get involved, or fill out our Interest Inventory, and a Student Involvement staff member will work with you personally to determine which organizations best match your interests.  For more information on creating an organization, also visit http://thesource.ua.edu.

What kinds of leadership course can I take at UA?

Here are a few of the most popular leadership courses…

  • Civic Engagement and Leadership Freshman Learning Community
  • HES 275: Leadership through Service
  • MGT 320: Leadership
  • HES 485: Self-Managed Mentoring
  • HES 450: Volunteerism and Civic Responsibility
  • HES 250: Career Development and Planning
  • NEW 270: Leadership and Social Justice Activism
  • CIP 200: Introduction to Global Studies

If a student organization or leadership opportunity requires an interview, how should I prepare?

The UA Career Center has a wealth of resources available for students who might be applying to different leadership, academic, or internship opportunities.  They can provide support in critiquing your resume, providing an opportunity for interview practice via the Mock Interview process, and in offering tips on what to wear for an interview.  Additionally the career center has a project called, Crimson Closet that is available to students and provides students with interview-ready attire at no-cost. For more information on the UA Career Center, visit their office at 3400 Career Center in the Ferguson Student Center or their website.

How can I start my own student organization?

If you have searched the Student Organization Directory but have not found the specific organization in which you are interested, visit the SOURCE online and click on the “Create An Org” tab. Here you will find step-by-step instructions on creating a new student organization. Feel free to contact the Office of Student Involvement with any questions about the process.

Where is the Office of Student Involvement?

The Office of Student Involvement is located on the third floor of the Ferguson Student Center, in room 3610.

What is the best way to contact the Office of Student Involvement?

If you would like to get in touch with a specific staff member, please feel free to contact staff directly.  If you have a general question, or if you don’t know who would be the best person to help you, use the Contact Us page.  If you have a more pressing matter, please call our office at 205-348-6114.

Are there any requirements for joining student organizations?

Each student organization is different. Some organizations require an application and/or interview process, while some organizations do not have a selections process. Student organizations also involve varying levels of commitment; most student organizations will have specific requirements that members must attain, such as meeting or event attendance, in order for members to remain in good standing. Remember, each student organization is different. To obtain specific information about the selection or membership requirements for a specific organization, please contact the officers listed in the Student Organization Directory.

I feel like I missed my chance to get involved at the beginning of the year; what should I do?

You have never missed your chance to get involved! Many student organizations accept new members throughout the year. If you are ready to get involved now, fill out the Interest Inventory and a Student Involvement staff member will work with you to find organizations that best match your interests. Also, remember there will be another Get on Board Day for the spring semester in January. Many organizations select new members in January. Other ways to get involved include searching for groups on Facebook, talking to friends who are involved in activities that interest you, and reading the Crimson White and UA Student News, which often advertise when student organizations are taking new members.  Also, attend campus events and get to know your professors and faculty members in your major – you never know when a new connection may lead to an excellent opportunity to get involved and find your passion!