The Do’s and Don’ts of Finding Student Orgs

It’s been said before, but I’ll say it again: joining student organizations is one of the best ways to make friends in college. But how to find the right student org? After all, there are about 900 of them at UW-Madison!

Let’s go over a few of the do’s and don’ts of finding your perfect student org.

Do: Attend the Student Org Fair

2015 Fall Student Organization Fair, Kohl Center. The two-day fair is an opportunity for students to learn about more than 400 represented student organizations. (Photo by Jeff Miller/UW-Madison)
2015 Fall Student Organization Fair, Kohl Center. The two-day fair is an opportunity for students to learn about more than 400 represented student organizations. (Photo by Jeff Miller/UW-Madison)

Back in-person for Fall 2021, this is the best way to get an understanding of what an organization is all about.

  • A sprawling series of booths, here you’ll find ambassadors of each org giving you their spiel about why you should join.
  • Each booth will also usually have info about requirements, upcoming events, flyers/pamphlets, and best of all: freebies (think pens, candy, and condoms—lots and lots of condoms, courtesy of Sex Out Loud).

Don’t: Overextend Yourself

It can be tempting to add your name and email to every sign up sheet, but you will soon regret it.

  • Signing up for too many email lists will overwhelm your inbox and you’ll soon have trouble finding the important stuff, like emails from professors and from student orgs you’re actually interested in.
  • Don’t plan on joining 10 clubs your first semester. You won’t be able to give your favorite organizations as much attention as you’d like—you’ll burn out.

Don’t: Rely on WIN

The Wisconsin Involvement Network database of organizations is a great resource for browsing, but don’t rely on it as your only resource. It’s not always up to date and may not provide enough information. I would strongly encourage you to attend the Student Org Fair as your main method of finding the right match.

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