Please get involved. I promise you it’s worth it.
So, getting involved in ERAU’s clubs and activities. That’s something that the admissions counselors will tell you- ERAU has over 250 student groups for you to join, and if you can’t find one you like, you can create one yourself! But that raises the question- how do you get involved and what should you get involved in?
When I was a freshman, I had the entirety of Summer 2020 to sit at home, quarantined, and scroll on CampusGroups looking at clubs. CampusGroups, which is accessed through ERNIE, shows a list of all of the student groups one can join. Of course, not all groups are open to public membership (we’ll talk about that later) but most of them are. To receive emails, simply join the group on CampusGroups, and there’s likely to be a bit of extra information. You can also find the group’s social media (if applicable) in CampusGroups.
In both the fall and spring semesters, the campus hosts an activities fair which allows student organizations to showcase their features to students. The groups set up in front of the student union and people in the group sit at the table, telling people about the group and what they do.
I’m part of three campus organizations and each is unique: Women’s Ambassadors (which is technically a job), the Aerospace Engineering Student Advisory Board (which is an interview-in position), and the Society of Women Engineers (which is a simple click join and you’re in).
Society of Women Engineers: This registered student organization (RSO) is one of many on ERAU’s campus that is open to all without employment or interview. I joined SWE as a freshman, signing up for their emails and joining their Discord server. Like most others, the group sends out emails telling those on the email list when and where events, including general meetings, are. To be a member of the ERAU group clicking join is all I needed to do. SWE at ERAU is part of the international Society of Women Engineers, but being a registered international SWE member is different than being an ERAU SWE member. I just happen to be a member of both!
Aerospace Engineering Student Advisory Board: AESAB, as it’s called, is NOT a RSO. It is also not open to everyone- being on the Board includes an application and interview process. This is not unheard of- many honor societies are also invite-only. AESAB applications typically open in the late fall to early spring, candidates are interviewed, and then offered a position on the Board or not. AESAB communicates with the aerospace engineering department to ensure that the students are in a productive learning environment.
Women’s Ambassadors: Also known as WA, this is a paid campus position that also requires an application and interview process. If selected as an Ambassador, you receive a grant towards your tuition as payment. There are only a handful of Women’s Ambassadors on campus, and we all get to travel- that’s how I got to go to San Francisco and Seattle. Being a Women’s Ambassador also includes planning and attending events for prospective, admitted, and current students as well as working Open House and Preview Day.
As a freshman I initially started out in many other organizations. However, as time went on, I figured out what sort of things I wanted to spend my time with and narrowed my focus to those groups. I started by going to one meeting of each public organization that I thought was cool and then decided if I liked it, didn’t like it, or wasn’t sure. For all of the organizations I liked, I continued going to meetings, and for organizations I didn’t like, I never came back. For the organizations that were a maybe for me, I went to another meeting and then thought about it.
For other organizations- like WA or AESAB- I learned about the organization before I joined. When I was a new student a Women’s Ambassador reached out to me, and the more I learned about it, the more I wanted to be a part of it. For AESAB, I saw the work that the Board had done and how they helped the students, which made me want to join. During the interview process for WA and AESAB, I was also given the chance to ask questions myself to make sure that the position would also be a good fit for me. That’s definitely a good resource to remember when you’re applying for real-world jobs and internships. Always read the job description too- most of the responsibilities and details of the job are there. However, If the position isn’t what you thought it would be based on the interview, or you didn’t click with the people, you can always rescind your application or turn down the offer.
The activities fair has been happening this week at ERAU and I’ve been busy tabling for the Women’s Ambassadors! We only tabled on Tuesday and Wednesday, but I’ll be tabling for SWE on Thursday. I love seeing the activities fair- it’s a great way to see campus come to life. AESAB typically doesn’t table as our functions are unique to aerospace engineering students rather than serving the larger student body population, but AESAB does host Cookies and Comments events to collect feedback from the students. I’m excited for that one- free cookies are always a must! Either way, I’ll see you in the next post- and hopefully at Riddle!