Clubs search for members to replace seniors
As many UConn students prepare to graduate this year, most student organizations lose at least some of their members. For several student run clubs, this is a major obstacle for both remaining an organization and receiving support from the university. Often times, having a sizable amount of a club graduating can result in a student organization not being able to hold campus events as often, or of the same magnitude as before.
The UConn American Civil Liberties Union in particular has faced a major decline due to student graduations. Last year, the clubs president/founder graduated along with other officers. The result caused a shortage of people qualified to hold office positions within the club.
"This year we have only gained three new members, and our CFO is graduating. So our current officers had to step up and take on more than one position," said UCLU president and 6th-semester journalism and political science double major Domenica Ghanem.
Last fall, the ACLU was unable to get a place at the fall involvement fair because of difficulties in getting new officers trained quickly. This resulted in a major setback in recruiting new members.
"I took over as president because no one else could do it and I didn't want the club to completely disband, since it had just been started back up," Ghanem said.
The UConn Capoeira club has similarly experienced major setbacks in the past due to students graduating.
"It seemed as though everyone graduated at the same time. Graduating people had a huge impact on our club especially because we do have a problem with member retention," said UConn Capoeira president and 8th semester pharmacy major Kenechi Unachukwu.
Clubs that do not have a shortage of student involvement still feel the burden of losing experienced members. "We have seven seniors leaving, four that hold office positions. Most of the freshman that come in are very active, but the seniors did a really great job at helping to prepare us," said Muslim Student Association event coordinator and 2nd-semester biomedical engineering major Shaheer Hassan.
Other established student organizations are also concerned about maintaining a healthy level of undergraduate involvement despite any loses due to graduation. "I think that the Bangladeshi Student Association can definitely be more active on campus if we had more undergrads. We are trying to recruit more and will continue to do so next semester," said 2nd-semester political science major Rubayet Lasker.
Despite member loses, or shortages however, many clubs are strongly determined to maintain their participation on campus.
"We were able to secure a spot in the upcoming fall involvement fair, so we should gain more members. I feel that we have qualified officers for next semester, but it will still be a challenge to get our membership up," Ghanem said.
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