Why it's never too late to join an RSO

By Mara Shaprio

For many upperclassmen, Quad Day is a day for freshmen to join clubs on campus. If anything, they will just stop by to grab the free food and coupons. But for Jessica Lee, senior in AHS, her last Quad Day will be about getting more involved during her final year at Illinois.

Lee said she is grateful for the number of RSOs the University offers and feels that she will be taking advantage of resources she may never get to have again.

“I want to expand outside of clubs that I have consistently been a part of and take advantage of learning something new and meeting new people before I regret the opportunity after graduation,” Lee wrote via email.

The University offers a wide range of RSOs, from sports, intramurals, religious and cultural groups and organizations for specific majors and careers.

Alpha Phi Omega, a service fraternity, is just one of the RSOs looking for new members to help them with their numerous causes and philanthropies.

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Vice President of Membership and junior in Engineering, Joydeep Ganguly, said he believes that seniors and upperclassmen can still find APO to be rewarding as they will be giving back to the community in a fun way.

“Seniors may say, ‘Oh, I already have friends. I don’t need it.’ As seniors we already find our clique. (But) leadership and service is what makes us stand out. The biggest reason why anyone should join is the service. Service is who we are and what we do,” he said.

Kayla McCraren, Colleges Against Cancer president and senior in FAA, also believes that it is never too late to join her organization. She stressed how big of an impact a member of CAC can make, no matter their year in school.

“When you’re a senior or junior and you feel like it’s too late, you never know whose lives you touch … In our particular case, we are always looking for extra help,” she said. “We want to make the topic of cancer relatable and approachable, even though people might become uncomfortable with the serious topic. You’ll get something out of it even it’s for one year.”

Lee, who is already a member of the Taiwanese American Students Club, Illinois Chinese Adopted Siblings Program, Women’s Glee Club, Future Healthcare Executives and American Marketing Association, said she is considering joining the Philippine Student Association and the Innovation Immersion Program during her last year.

Lee said she knows recent alums who just stuck to one or two clubs their entire college career because of established friendships and lack of time, but later regretted the decision.

“I definitely am guilty for having those same reasons of not branching out and joining new clubs throughout the years. But looking at the big picture, some club events take up only an hour of your week, so the time commitment could be more minimal than you think.”

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Not sure how to make the most of senior year? See what joining an RSO can do for you.