NKU calls for more student involvement


Andrea Carter, Copy Editor

From a new marketing campaign to addressing such issues like getting commuters engaged, NKU is pushing to get more students involved in campus organizations.

The emphasis on the significance of student involvement stems from the benefits it offers both NKU and its students. For example, students who are involved on campus are more likely to have a higher GPA. In fact, on average involved students’ GPA is .5 points higher, according to Coordinator of Student Engagement Andy Espelage.

In addition to academic benefits, involved students could see positive effects to both their personal and professional lives, such as gaining valuable experience and adding to their resumes, Espelage explained.

The university itself also has a lot to gain from getting more students involved. Espelage explained that students are more likely to continue to their academic career at NKU if they’re active on campus.

New initiatives to be involved

One initiatives to get students involved an online website called Pick One. The purpose of this new campaign is to try to connect every student with at least one organization.

Numerous positions have also been created on campus dedicated to get more students involved.

Espelage, who is also working on the Pick One campaign, explained why his newly formed position is a critical part to campus involvement.

“My position was created a few months back in order to clean up the process of getting involved,” Espelage said. “I don’t want students to get confused by all the organizations; I want to help them.”

In addition to new programs, NKU has rebranded their existing program OrgSync, which is now referred to as NorseSync. Espelage explained that the reason for this change was to clarify to students what the purpose of OrgSync is.

“[It was changed] to give it a kind of NKU flavor,” Espelage explained. “We want students to understand what [OrgSync] is, therefore when they see ‘NorseSync’ they are going to be more attracted to it because it has that recognition in there.”

NorseSync is another online resource that allows students to search for organizations, contact organization leaders and stay connected to campus.

Everything from groups based around Buddhism, tie dying and Pokémon can be found on NorseSync. In fact, these organizations and over 200 more are listed on the website.

Problems facing student involvement

Many issues, like time restrictions, face students who are attempting to get involved. The Office of Student Affairs has tried to address these problems by offering various organizations options. Each range from meeting weekly to monthly, at nearly all times of the day.

Also Espelage explained that the opportunity to get involved shows such skills like time management.  

However, one area that has troubled students the most is their commuter status. According to Allison Smith, senior student life specialist, explained that commuting hasn’t been as big of an obstacle as she originally expected.

“I think it can be a lot with work and class and commuting,” Smith said. “But showing students that it can be done and that it is worthwhile is very important.”

Espelage considers commuting a key area to focus on. He stated that certain programs like Fresh Fusion and Fall Fest, both are outside events where student organizations can set up booths and inform people about their groups, that is designed to reach commuting students.

“We really try to have events that are right out in the middle of campus where students can easily walk up to these programs and organizations and ask questions about it,” Espelage said. “I also always try to tell students that if they are interested in something to go to their first meeting and check it out. If you like it, you can keep going back and if not, you’re not committed to it.”

Student experience

Currently, there are 5,500 students who are actually participating in organizations, according to Espelage. Which is an increase that they have seen rise proportionate to the number of clubs registered on NorseSync. Espelage also stated that within the last 10 years the amount of registered clubs has more than doubled.

Ultimately, Espelage explains that students have a wide range of organizations to get involved in, each with their own unique passions.

“Every organization has their own niche,” Espelage said. “We have a really diverse and hands-on range of organizations on campus. Also, students who are involved will feel like they are more apart of the NKU community and culture.”

Kyree Doneghy, sophomore member of Leadership Mentors, said that getting involved allowed her to expand her viewpoints on everything from different cultures to her leadership style.

“Being that I am fresh out of my freshman year I was looking to get involved from the start,” Doneghy said. “When I did [get involved] I became more open minded and expanded my horizon… In college, to make the experience the best you have to see what’s out there and get out of your comfort zone.”