Art by Sacha Irick
What has several letters and numerous tears? If you said a long distance relationship you were close, but we are talking about Panhellenic Recruitment. With recruitment happening this week, there has been a lot of emphasis on being a part of something. Sororities and fraternities are just one of the many ways in which the school has been divided into sub-communities. Although some people may admonish Greek life, we considered how the system may benefit freshmen or others who are seeking a sense of belonging in a new and often unnverving place. While Greek life provides a way to get involved on campus, don’t fret if you didn’t join. There are also many other ways to weave yourself into the Pepperdine fabric.
Haven’t you ever seen “Pitch Perfect”? The Barden Bellas and the Treblemakers are case in point that extracurricular activities can help shape a college experience. It’s all about finding something that fascinates or intrigues you and then going after it. Geoff Plourde, president of the Inter-Club Council, wrote in an email, “People should get involved in extracurricular opportunities (not just clubs) because it provides an opportunity for them to broaden their horizons and explore their passions in a safe and nurturing environment.”
Getting involved in a group on campus will help develop the type of close-knit community for which Pepperdine is known. Although Pepperdine is a small school, it can sometimes be hard to find a place to fit. That is why it is a good idea to get involved in an activity with like-minded people. It is a great way to meet friends and feel like you have a place at the university. It is also a great way to fill up your social calendar with events.
In addition to the Greek community, athletes also form their own communities. “[Swim] was a good way for me to immediately have a friend group when I am so far away from home,” freshman Kathrine Kuhlmann said.
As college students, many of us are trying to explore who we are and what inspires us. Clubs and organizations are an excellent platform for self-discovery. You may find an activity that you never imagined you would enjoy.
“Pepperdine is so great about having so many different organizations that match your passions,” senior Kelsey Robertson said. “I wanted to get involved and have a presence on campus because I do think this is our last chance to have these sorts of opportunities to plug into our community.”
Clubs also offer an opportunity for personal growth, as they provide unique leadership experience to members. Leaders will learn skills such as organization, communication, fundraising, promotion and more. These are skills that will be valuable later in life and that cannot necessarily be learned in the classroom.
“[Joining a club] can also be a significant booster for resumes because each student organization is essentially a miniature business,” Plourde said. “You have to recruit staff/people, fundraise and plan and execute quality programming. These are all skills that potential employers are interested in, and your extracurricular experiences may set you apart from the herd when it comes to resumes.”
Some clubs offer the chance to practice networking — this is crucial to working in today’s world, because many job opportunities are the result of successful networking. Alpha Kappa Psi and Delta Sigma Pi, Pepperdine’s business fraternities, are examples of how organizations can be a step toward success.
Some students enjoy participating in more than one club. Robertson is an SGA senior class senator, on the marketing team for Student Alumni Organization, a member of a sorority and a student participant in the LEAP program, a language exchange between Spanish-speaking staff and students.
“As you go through the years, you realize how you can push your limits and stretch and manage your time,” said Robertson. “You should rank your priorities, but I also think you should not let life pass you by without doing the things you have always wondered ‘what if?’ about.”
With all this talk of getting involved, we do warn against one thing — the fourth pillar of the Pepperdine mission statement: overcommitment. With all our dedication to purpose, service and leadership, we have a tendency to spread ourselves too thin. Getting involved in too many things can take a toll on you. It is important to become involved but it is more important to be fully devoted to your commitments. We are all for being well-rounded, but if you are involved in too many things, you will not be giving any of them your full attention or effort. Although the issue of overcommitment is thrown around like the phrase “so blessed,” we take this seriously.
We at the Graphic consider ourselves to be a club, too. Like a high-class resort in Mexico, we are all-inclusive and encourage you to get involved (shameless plug noted). We understand what it feels like to be a community within a community, and for that reason we want to share what we have discovered. Be part of something bigger than yourself — it feels good. Plus, you get to have a really impressive signature after your emails.
Follow the Graphic on Twitter: @PeppGraphic
As published in the Sept. 26 issue of the Pepperdine Graphic.