How to pursue your passions and get involved on a college campus

Student signing up for an activity at an activity fair with Glatfelter Hall in the background
Student Activities Fair prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

With more than 120 clubs and organizations, ranging from campus publications and student government to the arts, community service, outdoor adventure, and sports, as well as programs such as the Garthwait Leadership Center and the Center for Public Service, Gettysburg College students share a passion for campus involvement.

Students have the opportunity to find their niche, engage with causes that matter to them, and pursue one or more of a thousand leadership opportunities, as each club—including Army ROTC, Black Student Union, the marching band, STEMists, and more—is run by students.

How to find opportunities

Do you want to join a club or organization? The best way to discover opportunities to get involved on campus is to attend the Activities Fair. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, this event occurred in the first few weeks of the spring and fall semesters in various locations on campus, while this year, it took place virtually.

During the in-person event, you can explore every club and organization at a specified table decorated with informational pamphlets, photographs, and sign-up sheets. Here, student representatives will greet you, tell you more about the purpose of their organization, and can help you join.

“I love the Activities Fair because I can see what my classmates have been doing within their organizations,” said Timothy Wilson ’21, a member of the Office of Student Activities and Greek Life (OSAGL). “Last year, I worked at a table and I loved letting students know how they can get involved in a club that they might not have thought they wanted to originally.”

Although this academic year has looked a bit different with a lot of virtual activities, OSAGL has continued to help our first-year students stay connected. Antoinette Chango ’24 has yet to experience the Activities Fair, but she has become deeply involved in organizations and campus events as a member of OSAGL.

“[OSAGL] works to plan, organize, and host events for students throughout the semester,” Chango explained. “I attended an OSAGL event last fall, and I knew that the club would be a great fit for me. Due to the circumstances of this year, we have been planning a multitude of in-person and virtual events as a way to keep every student involved.”

Types of activities on campus

No matter your hobbies and interests, Gettysburg has something for everyone, whether that be political organizations, faith-based clubs, or intramural sports. Gettysburg makes it easy to pursue your passions and push yourself outside your comfort zone.

Are you passionate about representing your peers and want to get involved with a student government organization? Student Senate is the right organization for you.

Are you a natural-born leader, or just looking to enhance your team-building skills? The Garthwait Leadership Center offers programming to give you the tools to lead effectively.

Maybe you have a love for chemistry and want to connect with like-minded peers outside of the classroom. You can do just that by joining the Sceptical Chymists club.

Students can also find meaningful opportunities with distinctive programs on campus, such as the Center for Public Service, a nationally recognized hub for community outreach and social justice, or the Eisenhower Institute, which enables nonpartisan discourse with scholars and experts about the issues that matter in our country and the world.

Make your college experience your own by getting involved in areas of interest and passion. By exposing yourself to the plethora of opportunities at your disposal, you will find yourself engaging meaningfully with the campus community. If one of the more than 100 offerings does not align with your interests, you can also start a new club!

Benefits of getting involved

Regardless of their areas of interest, students agree that getting involved at Gettysburg College is gratifying. Even as a first-year, Chango has become acclimated to the Gettysburg community as a result of her involvement.

“I would say the most rewarding part of joining a club and planning events is the exposure to the school,” Chango said. “I work with upperclassmen, so I feel like I have learned a lot about Gettysburg College—both the school and the students!”

Wilson offers words of encouragement to incoming first-year students: “Don't be afraid to put yourself out there. As a first-year, I never expected that I would be planning events for the entire campus! But here I am, and I love my leadership position.”

Ultimately, campus involvement stems from motivation and an interest in making a difference. You expose yourself to newfound opportunities to connect with peers and make an impact on your community and in the world. At Gettysburg, not only is it easy to for you chase to your passions, but you are cheered on every step of the way.

“Everyone on campus is super welcoming,” Wilson said. “Each of us wants you to have an awesome experience while at Gettysburg. If you want to be a part of something, go ahead. Trust me, it’s worth it!”

By Gabi Eglinton ’21
Photo by Khun Minn Ohn ’19
Posted: 02/26/21