Becoming the involved Vandal — Homecoming should spur students to get engaged

When students think about homecoming, often they think about football, or maybe reminisce about high school homecoming dances.

Homecoming Week marks a spike in school pride and increases student involvement.

From Sunday to Saturday, a variety of activities are available for students to participate in, whether these be well-loved Vandal traditions such as Serpentine and the parade or simply the weekly Moscow Farmers’ Market. There is plenty to do every day throughout the week.

One of the larger events that may fly under the radar is the Career Fair, which takes place from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday in the Kibbie Dome. The fair gives Vandals the opportunity to network with potential future employers. Attending and making important connections can have a large impact on a student’s life after college.

The LGBTQA office is also hosting a multitude of events throughout the week to kick off LGBTQA History Month. Students can listen to speakers such as Major Margaret Witt, whose lawsuit dissolved the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. Christopher Soto will tell his story at “Queer Coffee Shop and Open Mic.” Students can also learn about sexual health at the Latinx Heritage Month event “Lo Que tus Padres No te Dijeron.”

However, homecoming should not be the close of a student’s engagement and display of school pride, but a reminder of the opportunities available at their university.

Unlike Homecoming Week, extracurricular activities do not end when the football game comes to a close. There are still plenty of sporting events throughout the year. The homecoming game is far from the last football game of the season, and it is not the only sport at the university. All fall, there are competitions for soccer, volleyball, swim and dive, golf, cross-country and tennis.

Aside from sports, every UI department and the more than 200 clubs at the university constantly host events for students to participate in. Influential speakers from a variety of disciplines also come to campus on a regular basis. Study Abroad and Alternative Service Break trips allow students to expand their horizons and become more holistic human beings.

Multiple studies have shown that there is a link between student involvement and academic success. And while the primary duty of a student is to do well in class, in college it becomes more important than ever to pursue extracurricular activities and go beyond degree requirements. For one, involvement allows students to create memories that will truly make college the best four years of a student’s life. However, perhaps more importantly, employers look for well-rounded individuals, and the involved student is much more likely to become successful than the uninvolved.

So, after homecoming, join a club. Attend a speaker event. Audition for a play. And when the cheers from Saturday’s game are nothing more than echoes, don’t forget the entire Vandal family is still cheering for you.

— NR


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