"I just think Laurier does it best.": A Student's Perspective on Getting Involved at University

By Wilfrid Laurier University Modified on December 12, 2022
Tags : Campus Life | Student POV

3rd-year BBA student Alya Salma Najla shares her experiences on getting involved at Laurier.

 “I just think Laurier does it best.”: A Student’s Perspective on Getting Involved at University

What does it mean to get involved?

What does it mean to get involved in university? I know when I first heard that phrase, the first thing that came to mind was getting a job and although I wasn’t completely wrong, I wasn’t completely right either. Getting involved is beyond getting jobs, it also means to volunteer and contribute to the community you are a part of. Laurier, in particular, has various opportunities that allow students to get involved whether it be through their respective faculties or the Students’ Union.

My personal experience — Zoom vs. in-person

I am currently in my third year of the BBA (Bachelor of Business Administration) program here at Laurier. One of those three years I actually spent doing classes online with a 9-hour time difference. These factors didn’t give me a positive outlook on what university life could’ve been. Yet, despite my negative attitude I decided to put myself out there.

I joined the online O-Week (Orientation Week) activities held at the beginning of every year, run specifically for first-year students. Through this, I discovered multiple opportunities to get involved through LOCUS (Laurier Off-Campus University Students), LazSoc (Lazaridis Student Society), and the Students’ Union (SU) clubs. I saw these opportunities as a way to motivate myself and find my passions in a new online environment. By the end of my first year, I was involved with two clubs, the First Year Project (FYP) and Enactus Laurier.

Through getting involved with these clubs, I was able to find my passion in the role of marketing and social entrepreneurship. Although it was an unfamiliar and initially awkward experience having to do activities online, I couldn’t be more grateful for these opportunities as it helped me build valuable experiences and lifelong friendships that I wouldn’t have otherwise.

 Alya Salma Najla

How can you get involved?

Every faculty within Laurier has its own sets of clubs that are specific to the program. For example, there is FOSSA for the Faculty of Science and LazSoc for the Lazaridis School of Business and Economics. Currently, I’m now leading one of the 26 LazSoc clubs as the Co-President of ACE Laurier (formerly known as DECA Laurier). The SU also oversees over 250 student-led clubs as a whole. The clubs under the Students’ Union are open to all students at Laurier. Ever since my first year I’ve been involved with Enactus Laurier which is under the SU. You can learn more about each club through the Students’ Union website or through the Get Involved Fair at the beginning of every year.

In total, there are over 300 clubs and organizations spread out between the Waterloo and Brantford campuses. However, aside from on-campus clubs, there are also other opportunities off campus to get involved. For instance, there have been several volunteer fairs held over the fall and winter semester where organizations outside of Laurier come to promote their volunteer opportunities. Other resources also include the Navigator website, where students can find on- and off-campus volunteering and job opportunities.

Why get involved?

So why get involved? Aside from the benefits of building experiences, skills, and networks, getting involved is an asset when it comes to finding jobs and internships. Getting involved demonstrates to employers that you are a holistic candidate that is active outside of their academic life and within their community. Additionally, getting involved can also help you find a career path that you are passionate for.

Through the various roles I’ve had in the four clubs I was in, I realized that I enjoy taking on marketing roles. As a result, I decided to minor in User Experience Design and specialize in Marketing for my bachelor’s degree. My journey is yet to end as I have my last two years ahead of me and it is only the beginning for most of you who may be reading this. It is never too late to start getting involved! I think that getting involved is the best way to put yourself out there.

When I first entered university, I had no expectations of how my four years would unfold — and to be completely honest my main goals were to just get good grades and have a balanced school and social life. That was my idea of a “uni life” but looking back, I’m shocked at what a boring and plain life I was planning to lead! Granted, it could just be because of what Zoom deprived me from three years ago. But with everything back in person, set your expectations above and beyond and get involved!

Where I am today is a result and a reflection of my involvement within campus. Without the opportunities the community at Laurier has presented to me, I wouldn’t have the experiences, achievements, and community I’m part of today.

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