Tag: Student orgs

Outdoor adventures are close at hand; these Lawrence students show the way

Members of the LU Rowing Club (LURC) take to the Fox River on a recent Wednesday morning. (Photo by Danny Damiani)

Story by Alex Freeman ’23

For Lawrence University junior Jackie McShan, president of LU Rowing Club (LURC), it’s the beauty of the fog rolling over the water as the leaves change from green to red to yellow.

For sophomore Eli Henke, president of LU Sailing Club (LUSC), it’s the freedom he feels with the wind in his hair as a gust pushes his boat through the water.

For junior Madeleine Meade, president of Outdoor Recreation Club (ORC), it’s understanding her place within nature, disconnected from the stressors of daily life.

But for all of them, one thing’s certain: there’s something special about the outdoors.

“On your body physically, when you’re doing these activities, it releases so many endorphins,” Meade said. “Once you’re done, you can physically feel the chemicals in your body changing, and that’s pretty special.”

The call of the wild is real here at Lawrence, and a wide array of student organizations exist to facilitate a connection with the natural world—and to create bonds with fellow lovers of nature in the process.

Camping 101, hosted by the Outdoor Recreation Club (ORC), is expected to be held on Main Hall Green again in the spring. (Photo by Danny Damiani)

Access for everyone

As college students, there are plenty of obstacles preventing us from spending time outside. But nothing is insurmountable.

Providing new opportunities and resources is a key aspect of Lawrence’s outdoor clubs. Rowing Club provides its members access to the Fox River four days a week, meeting regularly for early morning practices on the water.

ORC facilitates camping trips during reading periods and academic breaks and provides camping equipment available for independent checkout throughout the year.

And for Lawrence’s sailors, the barriers, particularly access to water and the cost of sailboats, are even greater. But Henke is determined to break down those walls and enable other young people to experience the sport he loves.

“Very few people, especially college students, can afford their own boat,” Henke said. “Since [Lawrence] pays the sailing school, we get access to the boats, and people don’t need to spend a dime to get out there. So, I’m really trying to remove that paywall, to remove that barrier, between people and sailing.”

In addition to providing access to equipment, these orgs aim to give all students the opportunity to experience the club, regardless of prior skill level—college is all about trying new things, right? From Camping 101 events to sailing lessons on land, student organizations focus heavily on recruiting new members to their neck of the woods and providing training for beginners.

Claude Mazullo, a sophomore, Cristiana Burhite, a sophomore, Jackie McShan, a junior, and Victorio Sirugo, a first-year, carry their boat back to the Tululah Park boat house following a morning of rowing with the LU Rowing Club. (Photo by Danny Damiani)

Building a connection

We’ve all been a bit starved for human connection lately, and right now, the safest way to connect with others is in an outdoor setting. And as far as these student org leaders are concerned, it’s also the best.

Facing forces of nature necessitates a connection with and a reliance on the people around you—sometimes literally. If you’re trying to steer an eight-person canoe through a heavy layer of fog, you better be working as a team.

“You’re moving together, so … you truly have to be in sync with another person,” McShan said. “If you’re in a bad mood and other people are in a bad mood, it will affect the boat. You’re doing all this together.”

And even if the boat’s a little bigger, Henke said the same principle holds true. If you’re out in the middle of the water with two other people, there’s no better environment to make friends and build connections, all while exploring key interests away from academia.

“If you’re not doing anything outside of your classes, if you’re not meeting people, if you’re not pursuing interests, then I think you’ll burn out,” Henke said. “This is what makes a person happy and well-rounded.”

Whether it’s on the water or in the middle of the woods, spending time in the great outdoors means stepping away from the rest of the world. Your tie to life back home is the people who dare to step out with you.

Jackie McShan, president of the LU Rowing Club, holds a light for Victorio Sirugo, a first-year, before a morning of rowing on the Fox River at Telulah Park. (Photo by Danny Damiani)

What you experience will be unique to that moment in time, Meade said, and the people standing next to you are the only ones who will understand exactly what you went through. Some of Meade’s closest friends are people she’s met on camping trips, and that bond has persisted years later.

“In a completely different environment, you have no choice other than spending time with each other,” Meade said. “What other opportunities do you get to do that? Just take a step back and be present with this group of people. You’re going on this journey, this adventure together.”

Adventure awaits off-campus, and no one has to wait until after graduation to experience it. The outdoors has unequivocally made Meade’s, Henke’s and McShan’s lives better, and through their student organizations they’re committed to sharing that love with the rest of the campus community.

But if camping, sailing, and rowing don’t speak to you, don’t worry. There are plenty of other student organizations that enable students to get out, get active, and get connected. Explore the full directory of student organizations, starting with LU Recess Club, LU Geological Society, LU Rock Climbers, and the Sustainable Lawrence University Garden.

Alex Freeman ’23 is a student writer in the Office of Communications.

Get involved! Really. It’s pretty simple. Here’s how from a student who knows

Community Advisors, some seen here on move-in day, are a great resource for getting involved with campus activities.

Story by Alex Freeman ’23

“Getting involved is the best thing you can do in college!” 

Whether it’s coming from parents, teachers, or alumni, we’ve all heard that advice dozens of times. And yeah, it’s good advice—but honestly, when I was an incoming first-year, I didn’t have a clear idea of what it meant or how to do it. Get involved with what? With whom? To what end?  

I mean, seriously, can you get any more vague? 

But with a couple years of schooling under my belt, I’m finally getting the hang of this whole “get involved” thing. And if you’re looking to join the club—literally—here’s where you should start your search: 

1. Your residence hall is the first stop 

Going to residence hall activities is how I met 75% of my friends during my first year, so it kind of had to top this list. Community Advisors (CAs) put in so much effort to create opportunities for you to bond with your neighbors, and a lot of the time, it works. Game nights, trips to the Appleton Farmers Market, tote bag decorating sessions—I did it all, and it’s one of the best decisions I made, so be on the lookout from invites from your CA throughout the year. 

2. Fun student orgs are everywhere

SLUG is among the active student organizations on campus.

When I say there’s a student org for everyone, I’m not exaggerating. With dozens and dozens of student organizations to choose from, each dedicated to a specific interest and activity, you’re sure to find a group of people who just get you. From sea shanties to swing dance, from recess club to social justice organizations, you can explore Lawrence’s student organizations with the directory, or meet potential new friends face-to-face at the annual Involvement Fair, set for 7 p.m. Sept. 17 in Warch. 

3. Also, tap into professional student orgs 

In addition to the many student organizations geared toward student engagement, Lawrence is also home to several professional student orgs, which help students prepare for their post-graduation careers and bond with others on a similar path. Aspiring doctors, lawyers, writers, bakers—and the list goes on—can get involved (plus get a pretty major head start) through membership in one of these organizations

4. Share your gifts: Volunteer

VITAL is a volunteer program that has Lawrence students tutoring Fox Cities students in need of some extra help. It’s organized through the Center for Community Engagement and Social Change (CCE).

Volunteering offers you the chance to connect with classmates, get to know the local community, and give back all at the same time. With six distinct service areas, each with a variety of programs, you’re sure to find your perfect volunteering niche. Use Lawrence’s GivePulse page to sign up. 

5. Be active with intramurals 

Sports: the OG team-building exercise. Whether it’s as an official Lawrence athlete, representing the Vikings in competition, or as part of a more laid-back, recreational team, playing a sport builds bonds across campus, regardless of academic area or professional interest. Explore intramural sports here. 

6. Make a difference in student government 

If you want to contribute to real change on campus, the Lawrence University Community Council is definitely the way to go. Through the combined work of elected class representatives and appointed committee members, LUCC touches virtually all aspects of the university, from finance to student welfare, as it takes its place as a vital part of Lawrence’s shared governance. 

7. Make money and friends with student jobs 

Students jobs are available across campus. It’s one more way to make connections and get involved.

Everyone who has worked part-time knows that there is no bond quite like the bond between coworkers. Student employment is no exception, which makes it a key outlet for getting involved with the campus community. There’s no shortage of jobs to choose from, but some of the most popular include food service in the Commons, the circulation desk in the Seeley G. Mudd library, or writing for the Office of Communications! (OK, maybe I’m a little biased toward that last one.) You can use HandShake to find a campus job that is right for you. 

8. Trips and togetherness

There’s nothing like a change of scenery to get to know your fellow Lawrentians in a new light. Day trips to High Cliff State Park, weekend excursions to beautiful Bjorklunden, even international travel to gain field experience for an academic course—all these trips (and more!) can help you get involved with your studies and classmates in a more hands-on, distinctive setting. 

9. The Lawrentian/WLFM path

The Great Midwest Trivia Contest has a long, wonderful history.

If you want to get your voice out there, try your hand at cross-campus communications with The Lawrentian or WLFM Radio. As the official student newspaper of Lawrence University, The Lawrentian is a hub for student news, opinions, photography, and more, while also providing a space for you to hone—or learn—journalistic skills. Likewise, WLFM is broadcast-central for all things Lawrence, with student hosts leading talk shows, music broadcasts, and, annually, the Great Midwest Trivia Contest

10. Cultural resources and beyond

Although we all share the “Lawrentian” label, our backgrounds and identities are key to shaping who we are as people and deserve to be nurtured in the university setting. Through resources in the Diversity and Intercultural Center, International House, and the recently established Gender and Sexuality Diversity Center, students can connect with classmates and staff who understand their experiences and can offer additional support. Likewise, the Office of Spiritual and Religious Life  connects interested students with options for exploring faith and spirituality. 

11. Matching interests with housing 

Have a specific interest or passion? Immerse yourself in it while connecting with other students who feel the same way by living in one of Lawrence’s group houses. Passion for art? Art house is a staple on the quad. Want to get off the meal plan and make your own healthy food? SLUG house emphasizes sustainable living and eating. Looking to share a safe space for students of marginalized identities? Sankofa house might be the perfect fit. Live to game? Gaming House could be the place for you. These are just a few of the current options, and even if none of those are for you, keep an eye out for new affinity housing options as they shift, or propose your own. 

12. Is Greek life for you?

Participation in Greek life isn’t as common at Lawrence as it is at some other schools, but Greek organizations and members still play a very active role on campus. If you’re looking for a more traditional, social group with a philanthropic orientation, Lawrence has you covered with three fraternities and three sororities to choose from. But if that’s not for you, professional fraternities offer performance, volunteer, and social opportunities for Lawrence musicians, and Beta Psi Nu is a social sorority aimed at empowering women of color. Formal recruitment generally takes place at the beginning of Winter Term, with informal admission occurring at various points throughout the year. 

13. Get fit, have fun 

Yoga sessions are available through Wellness Services.

It’s easy to associate wellness services with treadmills and counseling—and the Wellness Center does offer plenty of exercise equipment, mental health services, and health care professionals—but participation in wellness activities can also be a great way to get involved! In addition to periodic programs and initiatives geared toward a particular aspect of health and wellness, Wellness Services hosts weekly activities that can be done with a group, including yoga, meditation, and volleyball. 

14. Student Life is all about involvement 

I know, I know, this one’s a bit obvious, but it’s true! Student Life events are literally designed for the sole purpose of getting students involved, and the Student Life staff knows what they’re doing. I’ve made tie blankets and listened to comedians at the various weekly S.O.U.P. (Student Organization for University Programming) events, and that doesn’t even mention the many beloved Lawrence events that are held annually, like Blue and White WeekendPresident’s Ball, and LUaroo

15. Explore downtown Appleton  

Even though we love our little campus bubble, we can’t forget that Lawrence students are an essential part of the wider Appleton community. With a vibrant art, music, and food scene, Appleton regularly presents a vast array of events that allow students to get involved with the rest of the community. For information on the city and upcoming events, check out Appleton Downtown Inc.’s website or Instagram

Alex Freeman ’23 is a student writer in the Office of Communications.