One of the most difficult, and yet rewarding elements of college life is the opportunity to live in a community. For small universities like the University of Dallas, this relationship is even more prominent. Unlike big universities where, one can get lost in the crowd, here we are constantly surrounded by those who know us on a first name basis.
Due to this familial atmosphere and unending social life, the temptation might arise to just float along on the forceful currents of SPUD, SG, RHA and other groups. With so many clubs on campus and so many organizations to provide us with constant amusement at all times, it might seem like there is no need for us to show initiative as individuals, or to put our names on rosters for any official organizations.
So let me put on my Uncle Sam’s hat and say: “We need you!” And we actually do. The clubs and organizations on campus, which allow opportunities for us to grow and maintain our vibrant culture of independent thought, need you to put your name on their rosters and your hands to the plow.
Do something in which you are actually interested. Identify an issue that keeps you up at night — the rights of the unborn, the American political arena, support for our military — and throw yourself into the cause. If there is something which needs to be changed, done, promoted or taught on campus or in the world, go ahead and do it, and do it now while the school can help you with the funding.
It’s not just a résumé thing. Over the course of your career — both here and elsewhere — you will do many things to make your résumé “balanced and well-rounded.” This is not a horrible reason to join a club, but it isn’t a great one either. Rather than think “résumé,” think “service.” How can I take a leadership position that will help me grow? How can I give back in a way that will help others? Who needs me and how can I help them? These are much better attitudes with which to approach any kind of membership. It isn’t that a résumé focus won’t work, but it definitely won’t be as rewarding.
And, once we join, let’s all show up. And let’s participate. There is nothing that makes a leader both more proud and humbled than having people show up to events and meetings. It is the most basic sign of respect — that you are willing to give your time to a cause or pursuit, and that you are willing to trust someone else with your time. Sure, leaders make mistakes. Some might even make you sit through a PowerPoint. However, let’s remember the mission, and try to influence others to help achieve it directly, successfully and joyfully.
When you put your name on a roster, it stops being just about you. You become one of many (or a really dedicated few, depending on how established the organization is). It is this “one of many” attitude and perspective that is the foundation of our culture here at UD — where we are one of many among the greatest writers, thinkers and lovers of life. Let’s make sure we are participating to the fullest in this great tradition that has been passed down to us.
Let’s join a club.