Getting involved in student life despite a global pandemic


Parker Otto, Columnist

If there is one piece of advice commonly given to new students, it’s a variation of the same idea: “don’t stay in your residence hall room,” “get involved” and “make the most of your time.”Going out with friends and joining organizations can greatly benefit life as an NIU student, and this can still be done during a time when social distancing, face-masks and online classes are all required. Here are a few tips for joining student organizations this semester.

Go to the Involvement Fair:

One of the best ways for students to discover all of the groups NIU has to offer is to go to the annual Involvement Fair, held the weekend before classes start. Despite COVID-19 canceling many events on campus for the fall semester, The Involvement Fair will be happening on Aug. 22 from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m. and Aug. 23 from 3 to 7 p.m., according to the Involvement Fair’s Student Organization Registration Form. 

The fair will not only have an in-person option for students to personally check out these groups, but there will be an online component, Alex Pitner, director of Fraternity and Sorority Life, said. So, students who want to see what options there are for groups, but don’t want to go into public spaces, can do so safely.

At the in-person fair, masks must be worn, only two people can be running a table for an organization and no food items will be given away, according to the Involvement Fair’s Student Organization Registration Form.

Find groups that reflect your interests:

Going to college is not only about seeking a higher education and finding yourself, it’s about discovering what you want for the future. Your choice of what you do besides classwork should reflect that. If you’re a business major, look at organizations that can prepare you for the business world. If you’re passionate about politics, consider clubs that are politically active on campus. Whatever you do, make sure that it is what you want and what will make you happy.

Make your own groups:

If there isn’t an organization that meets your needs, you can always make your own organization. In order to do so, the organization must have a president, treasurer and a faculty/staff advisor, as well as a constitution and bylaws, according to NIU’s student involvement page. After this, register the organization on HuskieLink: a university webpage that holds records and manages all active organizations on campus. Currently, HuskieLink is being remodeled but it will be completed by the start of the Fall Semester, according to HuskieLink’s website.

Once you’ve registered yourself onto HuskieLink, a meeting with the Vice President of the Student Association who can give temporary recognition as a campus organization until The Northern Illinois University Senate can give official recognition.

By forming an organization, not only can you have a club where you can thrive, but other students now, or in the future, can find solace in this new-founded club. 

As we adjust to the “new normal,” there is one thing that we all must be aware of as we return to class: 2020 showed us that, when most opportunities seem to have gone away and all plans are thrown out the window, we must find new ways to make ourselves happy.