By Mary Reed
President Roderick J. McDavis welcomed the incoming Class of 2013 at Monday's first-year student convocation, challenging each to "become a contributing member of this community and give something back to this community." Immediately after the convocation, thousands of students followed the Ohio University Marching 110 drum corps into Baker University Center to do just that: attend the Student Involvement Fair to find out how they can become involved on and off campus in extracurricular organizations.
Freshman Carolyn Menyes from Akron signed up with The Post, the student newspaper. "I'm a journalism major and I've heard of (The Post). I want to check it out," she said, noting that she hasn't decided on her course of study within journalism. "I'm trying to find my niche."
Freshman Katie Meisky, a Spanish major from Columbus, signed up with Amnesty International. She plans to get involved in a number of organizations to gain "more well-roundedness" and to develop new people skills working with diverse populations. "I really developed a strong interest in getting involved in the community and it's something I want to work into my future career."
Student organizations on hand included academic groups, social groups, religious organizations, political groups, performing arts troupes and club sports, among others. All told, 223 student organizations were in Baker University Center out of the nearly 300 registered groups on campus.
Ben Ashman, a senior electrical engineering major, was there to promote the Swing Club. "It's a social thing, you go and swing dance for fun," he said. "I've made all these friends and now I know how to dance. Every guy secretly wants to know how to dance. His girlfriend will like him for it."
Assistant Dean of Students for Campus Involvement Char Kopchick noted the energetic atmosphere that permeated Baker Center, saying it reflected on students' desire to make the most of their education. "Research really indicates that the more students are involved in organizations and activities on campus, the better their GPAs are and the higher their retention," she said. "We want students to get involved here so they get the most out of their time at Ohio University."
According to the Ohio University Office of Institutional Research, 83 percent of first-year student in 2008-09 reported participating in extracurricular activities.