Posted February 28, 2012 by Joel Pettigrew 

The Quirks of Student Involvement

Every campus has its quirks and special situations, leading to a unique culture of student involvement. What are some of those issues or quirks that influence student involvement on our campuses?

Common situations include regulations at various institutions regarding when students can apply to be a resident assistant or when they can have an off-campus experience. If students go abroad for some portion of their junior year, the hiatus may affect their ability to reintegrate back into their favorite student organizations. Or if they know they will be entering the world of residence life, involvement may be dropped at the end of sophomore year. Involvement in sorority and fraternity life may also present unique patterns, based on rules regarding when recruitment can occur or when students can join.

At the College of Wooster, the quirk is an academic one that comes in the form of independent study, a year-long research project that every senior must complete to graduate. This leads to many student organizations falling under sophomore leadership. The leadership graph for Wooster contains a steep hill at the beginning of the four-year experience, followed by a tapering off of involvement. Many other institutions feature a build up of involvement that peaks during the senior year.

What quirks and situations create unique involvement scenarios on your campus?

Joel Pettigrew

Joel Pettigrew is the Conference Manager at Emerson College.

Joel studied history at Texas A&M University and student affairs at Ohio State University. He has a keen interest in the relationship of urban design and urban campuses and how that influences the campus community experience. When he is not sending all-caps tweets (@therealjoelp), he is probably at his favorite place, Bukowski Tavern, reading a book.


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