The importance of freshmen student involvementon campus is mentioned throughoutsummer orientation, repeated throughoutthe fall activities fair, and emphasized inthe second half of the academic year.
Opportunities to involve oneself in Greeklife, Student Government, athletics, multiculturalorganizations, media outlets, andscholastic societies are almost thrown atfreshmen. Students even have to pay anactivities fee every school year.
Yet with all of this in mind, many St.John’s freshmen remain uninvolved incampus activities.
Oftentimes, freshmen resident studentsonly leave their dormitories to go to classand to get meals. Many commuter freshmenact similarly, attending their classes andleaving immediately after.
In effect, many of these students miss out oncareer-building opportunities that serve as excellentresume boosters upon entering the postgraduateworld. By not involving themselves oncampus as freshmen, these students set themselvesbehind the well-established students whohave made excellent networking contacts sincetheir fi rst semester of college.
In addition, freshmen who fail to involvethemselves in different organizations on campusnever earn the experience of meeting andworking with new people from different walksof life. Interacting with such a diverse groupof students at St. John’s would be benefi cialto any student’s college experience, and makeit more exciting and interesting.
St. John’s should hold discussion panels betweenupper-classmen and freshmen, so that thenew students would be more likely to realize thesignifi cance of gaining extracurricular experience.Talking to students who have gone throughthe same situation would provide a more personalimpact for the freshmen.
While St. John’s does have a rewards systemin place, the MVP Rewards Program, theUniversity should give freshmen more points tospark incentive and recognize freshmen who aresignifi cantly involved on campus. Many othercolleges like Baylor University and VillanovaUniversity offer prestigious scholarships and rewardsto freshmen who demonstrate leadershipskills and experience on campus.
Some experts have recognized this issueand have approached it with research and inquirythat has led to some interesting fi ndingson student engagement. According to nationallyrecognizedprofessor Richard J. Light, authorof Making the Most of College: Students SpeakTheir Minds, fi rst-year student involvement inextracurricular organizations is among one ofthe most crucial factors towards academic andprofessional development.
Professor Light also writes that students whoinvolve themselves on campus early on in theircollege careers are more likely to earn higherpayingjobs than those who don’t have as muchvaluable organization experience.
The bottom-line is that freshmen at St. John’sneed to further recognize the importance of involvementon campus in order to ensure a successfulacademic, professional, and spiritualcollege experience that will carry on to theirpost-graduate careers. In order to accomplishthis, both the students and the University mustmeet halfway and work together.