Student organizations continue to expand

Katelyn Farrugia

Most high school students only have a handful of student organizations they could join. But what if you were to have almost 200 to choose from? All of these groups ranging from the artsy to the athletic, including such wide interests as Aikido to mountain biking.

At UNCW, however, new student organizations who wish to join the ever-growing list must submit an application to the Student Organizations Committee.

“The SOC is a Chancellor-appointed committee responsible for reviewing new organization petitions. I already have five organizations waiting for approval,” explained Assistant Director for Campus Activities & Involvement Larissa LaCour, “and 16 or so organizations that are in the process of developing a new organization.”

Within the past three years, the amount of student organizations has been increasing exponentially without what seems to be an end. For example, starting with the 2004-2005 academic school year, the amount of registered organizations was 157. The 2005-2006 academic school year produced 169, steadily increased to 171 student organizations as of two years ago, finally capping off this past year with 187, not including the groups pending approval.

Statistically speaking, the growing rate of the freshmen population could explain the sudden rise in the number of student organizations. For instance, this year alone UNCW experienced an influx of more than 2,000 freshmen.

“The students are the organizations,” states senior and Marketing Director for Student Media Tyler Sparks. “There are always students who want to start their own. And it seems each freshmen class that comes is more capable and more skilled than ever.”

In addition to the increase of students other trends seem to have occurred within the realm of student organizations.

“First, there has certainly been a surge of more ‘activist’ organizations focusing on human rights, global issues/awareness and social justice,” states LaCour. “Those organizations have also had a great presence in recent years, last year especially, with some large on-campus programming [Amnesty International, STAND – an anti-genocide organization, Manna Project International, Habitat for Humanity, etc.].”

Although such trends seem to add to the list of choices, some of the more established still catch the eye.

Courtney Eason is one of the new freshmen already caught up. Taking on 17 hours of classes and working towards an accounting major, Eason said she has been checking out some of the student organizations here on campus.

“I looked at a few of the dance clubs at the fair during orientation,” showing particular enthusiasm towards UNCW’s hip-hop dance team, Physical Graffeeti. “I took dance back in my hometown, but I also saw some Christian groups that looked interesting.”

When asked if she would join anything anytime soon, Eason simply stated, “Once I get settled in, I can have a set pace.”

Eason seems to be heading in the right direction. And for the rest of you who have no idea what club to join, no worries. Just head on over to the Campus Activities and Involvement Center in the second floor of the Fisher Student Center and ask about the numerous organizations to choose from.

And for more information on UNCW’s Student Organizations or how to start one, visit the Student Organizations web site at