February 19, 2012
At first glance, The University of Arizona can seem overwhelming! Getting involved in campus activities is a great way to find your place and make connections. Campus beyond the classroom also helps to balance your college experience. Jacquelyn French, a Molecular and Cellular Biology (MCB) senior, has been active on campus since she began school here. She shared some of her thoughts about getting involved and making UA an exciting and engaging place to be.
What were your initial thoughts when stepping on campus for the first time?
Jacquelyn French (JF): How am I going to get from one side of campus to the other?
Why did you decide to get involved on campus?
JF: I originally got involved with the Pima Leadership Institute, (PLI) the Leadership program at Pima Community College, while I was attending classes at the Desert Vista campus. Pima and UA developed a leadership program to help students transition from a community college to the university. My involvement with PLI provided me with an opportunity to attend the National Collegiate Leadership Conference (NCLC) in 2007, 2008 & 2009. Through PLI, I was also introduced to UA's Arizona Blue Chip Program, which is a four year co-curricular leadership program.
After transferring to the UA, I wanted to continue my personal leadership development. I joined Blue Chip in the fall of 2009. I also joined the planning committee for NCLC in the fall of 2009, where I was the excursions chair for the 2010 & 2011 conferences.
I am continuing with my last year in Blue Chip this fall. Unfortunately, due to graduating this December, I am unable to be on the planning committee for NCLC 2012.
Have you found mentors on campus?
JF: I consider all of the full time staff for the leadership programs on campus: Corey Seemiller, Tina Neil and Tom Murray to be mentors, especially Tom. All three of these people have contributed to my decision to change my field of study simply because they exposed me to the world of Student Affairs. Tom has contributed to my personal growth in so many ways: as an individual, a student, a leader and so much more.
Do you have any advice for students who may be looking for ways to get involved?
JF: The Center for Student Involvement & Leadership (CSIL) houses a number of organizations including Sustainability, Leadership Programs, Greek Life, the Women’s Resource Center, LGBTQ, and many more. CSIL is a great place to start looking at how you can get involved on campus.
Another place to go to inquire about how you can get involved are your RA's. Residence Life staff know what’s going on on campus. Even if you don't live in a Residence Hall you can still go to Res Life and ask questions.
Instructors are another great resource. Often, instructors or graduate TA's are involved with a group or organization on campus.
There are so many places and people on campus. I'm sure you will come across someone who can point you in the right direction. All you have to do is ask.
Ever since high school I've really enjoyed being involved in leadership and student government. Now I have such a passion for helping others develop their leadership skills. As for me, I am going to abandon my BS in MCB so I can get a master’s degree that will aid me in ultimately pursuing a career in Student Affairs.