Involvement on campus is a critical part of the Auburn experience, according to President of Involvement Ambassadors Bonnie Zhao, who believes getting involved teaches students skills they can’t get anywhere else.
“I know sometimes in my accounting classes I can sit down, take notes, not say a word to a person and just leave,” Zhao, senior in accounting, said. “That’s not developing skills that you need in the business world, in your career. Also, for me, I’ve met some of my best friends through involvement, and that’s what has made Auburn so special for me.”
Student organizations often involve time commitments that can pull from studying or recreational activities, but Zhao said they provide a valuable experience.
“Involvement has really taught me the skills that I can’t really learn inside of a classroom such as leadership, organization, time management, soft skills, communication skills and things like conflict resolution,” Zhao said.
Paxton Peacock, executive vice president of programs said involvement helps students make connections and opens students’ minds to different opportunities not only on campus.
“We have AED, Alpha Epsilon Delta, a pre-health program,” Peacock, sophomore in animal sciences, said. “It directly connects you with med schools, helps you learn more about them or Block and Bridle, within the College of Agriculture. It’s [a] hands-on activity with large animal experience for vet students.”
Zhao said students should look into different honor societies throughout campus and ambassadors within their college.
Students can check in with the involvement ambassadors and the Student Involvement Office for information on applications, organizations and other information.
“I like to describe the involvement ambassadors as AU involve in the flesh,” Zhao said. “I know that involvement can be overwhelming, so we offer individual consultations and workshops for both students and organizations."
Weekly O-days are offered on the Concourse every Wednesday outside where organizations can show themselves off and recruit interested members passing on their way to classes.
As president, Zhao works directly with several vice presidents within the involvement ambassadors, including Peacock, to delegate tasks to better their organizations. At the same time, she works with the presidents of other organizations to assist them with whatever they may need and to help all the organizations collaborate.
Involvement ambassadors offer programs and workshops for students on interviews, finance and leadership training. Organizations can take part in similar workshops, geared more toward running an organization, Peacock said.
With involvement, there is a line where a student is too involved. Peacock said that line is dependent upon each student, and everyone should set it for themselves and not allow others to influence it.
Peacock said the involvement ambassadors are happy to help students if they reach that line and so are executive members of each organization and their advisors.
“I think talking to the advisor is definitely the first step,” Peacock said. “Most times, when a student is over-involved the people in the organization and the advisors, particularly, recognize that."
Zhao said while it's hard to say no to opportunities, everyone needs to know themselves and what they are truly capable of handling when it comes to applying for and accepting different involvement opportunities.
Zhao warned that it can become too much involvement when you have to say no to things you enjoy or things important to why we are at Auburn, such as studying.
Zhao said now is the time to think about getting involved as many of the applications are coming up.
The list for many of the upcoming applications is as follows, for a complete list visit AU Involve or speak with an involvement ambassador.
Cabinet, SGA — due March 19
· Organizations Board — due March 20
· Squires Honorary, rising sophomores — due March 24
· Board of Directors, Student Alumni Association — distributed March 27
· Omicron Delta Kappa, rising juniors and seniors — due March 28 at noon