Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

UA sports hundreds of involvement opportunities

With more than 350 student organizations on campus, it can be difficult deciding exactly which one works for you.

At the beginning of each school year, the Office of Student Involvement and Leadership offers events such as Get on Board Day and Student Involvement Week in order to show students what’s out there.

“We want to make as many ways into involvement as we can, so it isn’t just the most connected, most outgoing students getting involved,” said Josh Burford, the coordinator of student development programming.

While Burford describes Get on Board Day as an “involvement marketplace,” the rest of Student Involvement Week aims at connection and involvement on a deeper level.

“Students are very comfortable at Get on Board Day, but it’s geared toward really participatory students,” Burford said. “During Student Involvement Week, students who don’t have it all figured out can try things out.”

Burford has worked to organize the week, which he said is “supposed to be a shortcut to getting involved on campus.” Each day highlights a general area of involvement while exposing students to specific groups that fall under that category.

“I think we’ve done a good job of hitting the high points,” Burford said. “If students participate in a couple days it should give them a way into something a little deeper.”

This year will feature two new events: Get Involved, Get Spiritual and Get Involved, Get Adventurous.

Representatives from 26 different faith communities from Tuscaloosa and Birmingham will attend the event.

“Every major world religion should be represented in some way, shape or form,” Burford said.

Along with the more mainstream religions represented, there will be members of groups such as Quakers, Wiccans, Taoists and Christian Scientists.

“I’m looking forward to the event because I think there’s going to be a lot more faith traditions and religions represented,” said Michelle Hunter, president of the Campus Ministries Association. “It’s going to be a much better opportunity for students to get a broader range of what’s actually available.”

The event is interactive and carnival-style he said, instead of people simply sitting behind tables.

An African-American gospel choir will perform, and each group is bringing an activity to engage the students who attend.

The Office of Student Involvement and Leadership will provide food that meets everyone’s religious requirements, which is no mean feat. They decided not to serve pork products or red meat, but instead some chicken and many vegetarian options, all while being respectful of the fact that members of the Muslim Student Association are celebrating Ramadan.

“[Get Spiritual] is a way for students to have conversations about faith traditions they have questions about and get an individual’s perspective on their religion,” Burford said. “We want dialogue to come out of this.”

Outdoor Recreation will head the second new event, Get Involved, Get Adventurous.

Student Involvement hasn’t done an event specifically with Outdoor Rec before, and they want to expand what students will do, Burford said.

Outdoor Rec will offer a whitewater-rafting trip next weekend for students who are interested in becoming more involved.

Many of the events during Student Involvement Week focus on participatory activities and interaction with students who will potentially become more involved in a specific area on campus.

“We’re trying to cater to the different ways in which students get involved in things,” Burford said. “Three-hundred fifty student organizations is a lot, but there’s something for everybody’s interests on this campus. There’s not just one way to be a UA student.”

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