Clubs enrich students’ experiences

By Nancy Broten

Options vary from arts to peace, symphonies to religious groups

Because there is more to college life than classes and grade point averages, NIU offers hundreds of clubs that give new students a chance to meet people and follow their interests.

There are two main campus organizations at NIU, the Student Association and the Campus Activities Board, which is like “an umbrella under the SA umbrella,” CAB President Carol Jungman said.

The SA is NIU’s student government, which recognizes 184 clubs and funds 46. Groups considered as religious, political or pre-professional are not eligible for funding.

Cam Davis, SA vice-president elect, said, “Every student is a member of the SA because of the student fees they pay.” The fees amount to an annual budget of about $650,000 that is used partly to fund clubs, he said.

Besides funding other clubs, the SA is an organization in which students can become more involved by joining one of the various committees, such as the CAB or the Office of Campus Recreation, that overlook other organizations.

Students interested in student government also can run in the SA senatorial election, which takes place at the beginning of each semester.

While the SA is a political-oriented organization, the CAB is involved with NIU program planning. More than 150 people serve on the CAB.

Students can join any of 15 committees that plan events such as concerts, films, Diversions coffee house activities, Springfest, speakers, Homecoming, special events, travel and recreation. The CAB also has committees for its public relations and advertising needs.

“It’s a fun way to meet people and round out your education with complementary knowledge,” Jungman said. CAB members can spend a lot of time or as little as one hour each week working on CAB projects, she said.

Other clubs can be divided into five categories: arts and entertainment, academics, political and special interests, religious and fraternities and sororities.

CINE Club, an entertainment club, is a subcommittee of the CAB’s film committee. Members are in charge of bringing fine arts films like Surburbia and Francis Ford Coppola’s One from the Heart to NIU.

Other arts and entertainment clubs include the NIU Philharmonic, the Black Theater Workshop and the NIU Company Dancers, which is open to anyone and provides a chance to learn, practice and perform dances in an annual presentation. Last year’s presentation, La Masquerade, was highlighted during Homecoming week.

Academic clubs also exist to suit various academic interests on campus. NIU’s academic clubs include the Northern Illinois Technology Clubs, Public Relations Student Society of America and the English Club.

For students who wish to enhance their spiritual growth and meet people who share their religious beliefs, there are more than 20 religious organizations on campus as well. Campus Crusade for Christ, Navigators and Intervarsity Christian Fellowship are three of those organizations.

Besides the University Democrats and the Young Republicans, which allow students to get involved in politics, many clubs deal with special interests, such as the Northern Illinois Peace Action Committee and the Nuclear Weapons Freeze campaign.

Clubs most often associated with college life are fraternities and sororities, referred to as the “greeks.” The Black Greek Council, the Interfraternity Council, and the Panhellenic Council serve as coordinating councils among the various fraternities and sororities at NIU.

One way to become involved in clubs is to check the student handbook for a list of various clubs or to call University Programming and Activities or the SA for more information. Posters and fliers also are distributed around campus to tell students what clubs are doing and how to become involved.