Students Struggling to Get Involved

Haleigh Merriman, Meaghan McCaffrey, and Haliee Kolvenbach promoting Student Government at the Involvement Fair

Matt Coates , Reporter

Students have struggled to learn about clubs on campus because it is challenging to find a list.

On MyMu there is a list of all clubs with their leaders and advisors, but some students have complained about having trouble finding it. Freshman Sport Management major Michael Scarpulla couldn’t find this list earlier in the school year.

“I was trying to join the Student Athlete Advisor Committee, so I looked on MyMu for a list of clubs. I couldn’t find a list of clubs or any information I was looking for really,” said Scarpulla.

Scarpulla represents a large portion of students who have struggled to learn more about clubs on campus. He only learned about the club because one of his teammates was a member. Without that connection, he doesn’t think he would have known that the club existed.

Students struggle to find information about clubs, because the list on MyMu is hard to find. When searching “clubs” on the platform, the first link that appears reads “SGA Charter Applications for Clubs and Organization.” A student would have to click that link, and scroll to the bottom of the page to find a club list.

Scarpulla mentions that the search feature is unclear, and he would have never thought to click that link to find a club list.

In addition to the lack of information available to students, COVID-19 has also made it challenging for students to get involved with clubs.

As the pandemic is slowing down, clubs are still struggling to gain new members. Student Government Association President Michael Schlosser says he has noticed the number of active clubs dropping since COVID started.

“Coming out of COVID we definitely saw a drop off in active clubs and club retention,” said Schlosser. During the height of the pandemic, it was almost impossible for some clubs to operate at all. When school was shut down, meetings had to be held over Zoom. Schlosser mentions how it was challenging for clubs like Dance Ensemble and Beyond Harmony to conduct meetings over Zoom.

“Because those are singing and dancing, it’s tough to do over Zoom. So, you know it was particularly challenging for them,” said Schlosser.

Even as COVID restrictions are being relaxed, it hasn’t been easy for clubs to recruit new members.

Schlosser, a senior Government Law and National Security major, says that the University does a great job of promoting clubs to student. Many clubs use social media, especially Instagram, as a tool for promoting themselves. By creating an account, clubs can post about how to join, when meetings are, and events they are hosting. Schlosser mentions that Instagram accounts like @misericordiaU, @mucampuslife, and others do a great job reposting content the clubs have created.

While the school is working to promote clubs to students, the numbers of students participating in clubs is declining.

The Student Government Association tries to help by running open meetings, where they will teach leaders of clubs how to promote themselves. However, that is not the only purpose of the open meetings. Schlosser mentioned that these meetings serve as a connecting point between the SGA and the clubs.

“Open meetings are once a month. We get the president’s, vice president’s together and we just discuss topics. In meetings we have gone over succession planning, how to run a meeting, and how to recruit new students,” said Schlosser.

A large part of student recruitment stems from the club fair, which is organized by SGA. The club fair is offered twice a year, once to start each semester. The SGA will try to hold the fair over multiple days, so every club gets an opportunity to sign up. However, it is up to the club how, or if, they would like to participate.

The SGA tries to hold the club fair in a popular area of campus. “We usually just do tables out in Banks. Or we’ll do them on the sidewalks going up to Insalaco,” said Schlosser.

However, not every student can make it to the club fair. Therefore, it is crucial for clubs to promote themselves in other ways.

The SGA and other organizations on campus have begun working on a platform to make clubs more accessible for students. Schlosser said that the school is working on an online forum called Presence for current and prospective students to learn about clubs.

“I don’t know if it is a work in progress or it has been launched. But I do know we are working on implementing a forum where students can go on,” said Schlosser.

Each club would have a page, like a social media page, with information about themselves. This way current and prospective students could learn about each club Misericordia offers online. According to Schlosser, there would be a form for students to fill out and get in contact with club leadership.

However, Schlosser said that the status of Presence is unconfirmed. He is not sure if the platform has been launched, or if it is currently a work in progress.

Although many clubs are struggling, some have found ways to thrive recently. The Misericordia Eco Reps have been successful this school year. President Caitlin Scully said that they have been able to gain new members because of mutual connections.

“I think most of our members have been recruited as a result of mutual friends and interests. Many of the club members seem to have an interest in helping the Earth and have found out about the club by word of mouth from others who share such interests,” said Scully.

The purpose of the Eco Reps club is to raise awareness for the better options available to protect the environment and earth itself. They have done so this year with service projects and fundraisers.

Scully said the club had a successful t-shirt sale for earth day and earth week. The club sold shirts in order to fundraise, and to spread their mission of protecting the environment

Even with many clubs’ numbers declining, the Eco Reps club was able to have a successful year. Hopefully Presence becomes finalized and allows all clubs to get back to normal and see more members join their ranks.