There are over 200 student organizations at Northern Kentucky University. Despite the amount of opportunities to get involved, some students opt out of taking part in campus activities.
NKU is predominantly a commuter school, which may contribute to the lack of involvement. “We call them the PLC (parking lot class). They come to campus, they go to class then they go to work,” Tiffany Mayse, the director of student engagement, said.
Mayse explained that there is a new generation of students. She said that millennials were very much the “joiners” because they wanted to do everything.
Despite this logic, there has been a lot of change in the incoming classes with the level of involvement.The economy plays a factor in students’ excitement and engagement in college.
Tuition inflation and other expenses have a tremendous effect on students getting involved in organizations on campus. More and more students are working 40 hours a week to pay bills and fund other necessities , so getting involved becomes a time factor for them, according to Mayse.
“Not that college has ever been easy and affordable for anyone, but families aren’t able to help students as they could in the past,” Mayse said.
Commuters face the rollercoaster prices of gas on their travels to campus several days a week. Being involved in student organizations just requires commuter students to travel to campus even more and some students are unable to afford this.
Mayse said that many of the organizations around campus are feeling the absence of student engagement because more students are just coming to school for classes. Nick Snider is the president of Common Ground, an organization that advocates for LGBTQ rights and educates the campus community on how to be allies.
Despite Snider’s organization welcoming students from all backgrounds and affiliations, Common Ground has experienced difficulties in gaining members.
“One of our bigger challenges is getting students engaged,” Snider said.“We are trying to figure out what they want to get out of Common Ground for them to really participate, give back and things like that.”
Mayse explained that in addition to attending events, meeting people and connecting is how you truly become involved on campus.
“People join people, not organizations,” Mayse said.
Mayse explained that walking into classrooms not knowing anyone can be intimidating, but being familiar with peers can alleviate feelings of anxiety and increase the level of participation. “I feel like our students never get in that groove of being engaged,” Mayse said.
These organizations are here to help relieve some of the stress of the piling deadlines and endless readings. Mayse believes that social life is a part of college.
Nick Bliven, president of Norse Leadership Society, also wishes that students would take advantage of the opportunities NKU has to offer.
“I want people to be more involved in the fun stuff in school; there are over 200 organizations so there’s probably something for everyone,” Bliven said. “It could be challenging, but just getting out there is something; and I wish students would take advantage of these more.”