With more than 50,000 students on campus, it can be daunting stepping onto the UT campus for the first time, but there are ways of getting involved on campus that can make the 40 Acres feel smaller.
The beginning of freshman year brings a lot of change and new experiences. Freshmen learn to navigate their way around campus and adapt to college classes while also acclimating to dorm life. But college is not just about learning how to feed yourself, do laundry and manage money, it’s a time to meet new people and embark on new opportunities.
UT has over 1,300 student organizations and clubs available to students, according to UT’s website, providing an abundance of ways for students to get involved and build a community on campus.
The UT RecSports department is home to nearly 30 intramural sports and 44 sports clubs that host various fitness and wellness classes.
“We often hear from students that RecSports becomes students’ home away from home,” said Jennifer Speer, the senior director of communications, assessment and development for recreational sports, in an email. “There is always something going on.”
In addition to student organizations, UT also has more than 70 sororities and fraternities, various spirit organizations and Campus Events + Entertainment, which puts on over 120 events annually for students on campus.
“Getting involved with Greek life helped me meet people and to establish that community at UT and to make campus feel more like home,” student body president Colton Becker said. “Once you have that community, that homebase, that support system established, that is going to help you tremendously.”
There are also two legislative bodies that freshman have the opportunity to get involved with: Student Government and the Senate of College Councils. Nutrition senior Becker said SG can give freshmen an introduction to leadership positions and opportunities to work with students from across campus.
First year Liberal Arts Honors students have the opportunity to propose a project that will better the Austin community through the Envision Austin Contest. Owen McGeary, government and economics sophomore and a winner last year, won funding for his nonprofit UT organization, Horns for the Homeless.
“(The) nonprofit provides care packages with more nuanced items that homeless people wouldn’t be able to get from homeless shelters or churches,” said McGeary, co-founder and treasurer of Horns for the Homeless.
The nonprofit is in the process of setting up communications and merchandise. Now, Horns for the Homeless encourages other UT students to get involved by volunteering with the organization.
Information about all of UT’s organizations is available online at HornsLink. Whether you join the Chess Club or the Harry Potter-themed club, “Keep Austin Wizard,” there are all kinds organizations to choose from on campus. If you don’t see anything that suits your fancy, then you can start your own student organization by submitting an application and a $20 fee to Office of the Dean of Students.