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LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 25, 2011) – Late on a July afternoon in the Student Center, many of the halls are quiet, the food court is closed for the day and UK Bookstore’s shelves are being restocked with textbooks for the fall semester. To a casual observer, there doesn’t appear to be much happening on campus. However, as the Student Activities Board’s motto perfectly captures it, there’s always something going on, and in the Center for Student Involvement and other student offices, student leaders are working feverishly to prepare for the start of the new semester.
“The student leadership of this campus works during the summer to put programs together, spending countless hours to think creatively about how we're going to welcome back new students,” Rhonda Strouse, director of Student Involvement, said. “Many of them are working 30 to 40 hours a week throughout the summer to make sure that all the major events and programs and services and the organizations are ready to step out there and be ready when everyone comes on campus.”
Student Involvement, which oversees UK’s more than 450 student organizations, is comprised of seven core groups: the Student Activities Board, Center for Community Outreach, Wildcat Student Television, WRFL-FM, the CATalyst Coalition, the Peer Resource Team and the Student Government Association. Individually, and even more importantly together, student organizations work to make their contributions to K Week the best they can possibly be for each new and returning Wildcat.
“We are so interconnected,” Geraldine Goh, executive director of UK FUSION, said. “Working together makes all of our events better.”
“We all have different resources,” Rebecca Kowalewski, executive director of the CCO, said. “SAB might have really good resources for planning events while we might have resources for finding volunteers, so together we work much better than planning an event on our own.”
“They are connecting with themselves as student leaders because they are a large community in and of themselves, and they want this to be a successful venture for all the new students coming in,” Strouse said. "They're very committed to being sure that the experience you have coming in is one that they would want to have for themselves. I don't know that students necessarily will see all of that if you're a new student coming in. It just kind of magically appears, but know for sure that much time and intensive energy and creativity are going in to get things happening for that opening week.”
But this summer hasn’t just been about preparing for K Week. Student organizations have been refining their constitutions, developing marketing and promotional plans and drafting new programs to launch in the fall. For example, Student Government has been working on a student advocacy group called the Wildcat Interest Group or WIG.
“Several of our staff traveled to Washington, D.C., and met with our elected officials this summer,” Micah Fielden, student body president, said. “What we really want to do is represent students’ needs and be champions for higher education throughout the state and on a national level. This is a great year for students to get involved in civic engagement and student activism through WIG.”
If student government or volunteerism isn’t a student’s niche, there are plenty of other options to explore. From today’s student involvement fair to meeting with a member of the Peer Resource Team, Involvement’s student ambassadors, there’s a way for every Wildcat to connect on campus. Students who are involved in the campus community are happier, more successful and more likely to stay at the university than those who do not.
“A lot of the learning goes on outside of the classroom,” Robert Mock, vice president for Student Affairs, said. “That’s where Student Affairs has its greatest mission — to impact and support the academic mission at the University of Kentucky while the students are outside of the classroom.”
“We provide the fun on campus through our events,” Chris Goodale, SAB president, said, “but we also provide an opportunity for students to learn a little bit more about themselves and the world around them.”
For more information about getting involved with a student organization on campus, visit getinvolved.uky.edu. Click here to connect to student involvement through social media. The Office of Student Involvement is a Division of Student Affairs.
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For more information about K Week, visit the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/KWeekatUK, follow K Week on Twitter at twitter.com/K_Week and check out the YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/KWeekatUK.