Oftentimes going to college means leaving your friends and family behind as you change schools or locations. This can be sad, or it can be liberating, but whichever way you feel about it, Missouri State-West Plains offers up many solutions to fill your empty social calendar.
With nearly 30 student-led organizations, there are plenty of choices from which to choose. From the Student Government Association (SGA) to the Agriculture Club to Phi Beta Lambda, there is a place for everyone to find a new social group. And, if you find nothing of interest in the complete list of organizations, there is always the possibility of creating your own!
What student organizations will you fit in?
Joining a student organization isn’t all fun and games though, it’s actually better for your academic future! Dean of Student Services Dr. Angela Totty says it’s well known that students who become connected while pursuing their education tend to graduate at a higher rate. “Enjoyment in their environment creates satisfaction which provides support during the tough times, and college can be tough,” Totty said. “Student organizations provide more than just membership, they create belonging. Our students need to know they belong in this sometimes chaotic world called college and that they can achieve their goals alongside others who are striving toward the same goal.”
These student organizations create an opportunity for students to become more involved with many areas of interest outside of the classroom. Several Missouri State-West Plains academic departments have a student organization that is affiliated with them, and students can become more connected with their specific academic area through involvement in the organization. This provides opportunities for students to put classroom education into real-life experiences.
There are also several organizations that are more focused on outside interests, such as Spectrum, Grizzly Madness and the Student Veterans Organization. “These are organized to provide ways for students to make connections with others who share similar interests,” Totty said. “These organizations allow students to make connections and quite often build a support structure that will assist during their college years. Many of the friends made through these organizations become lifelong connections.”
Hear what these Grizzlies have to say!
The SGA is one of the most active organizations on campus, according to 2017-18 SGA President Douglas Cooley II. “I was very honored to be elected by my fellow students to serve as this year’s president. Our job is to be the official voice of the student body on our campus,” he said. “If students want to see a change, we try everything we can to make it happen. We also serve as a bridge between the students and the faculty and staff when it comes to dealing with certain happenings on campus.
As in previous years, SGA has several activities in the works for the coming year, Cooley said. “We have done several things in the past, which include sponsoring trips for students to spend in Springfield and Branson. We have also helped with more community based activities like Trunk or Treat in October,” he explained.
“Prospective students need to understand that getting involved in at least one student organization will make their college life extremely more enjoyable,” he added. “Most, if not all, student organizations will let any student join. SGA is always open to ALL students, and we encourage each and every student to join and help be a part of this campus!”
Just as the SGA is open to everyone, Spectrum is also welcoming. “The club is for everyone, regardless of sexual preference or orientation, but the focus is on how sexual orientation affects the everyday experience of students on the Missouri State-West Plains campus,” said Alexandra Graham, Spectrum club adviser. “Representation is important, so making sure that there is a club on campus that embraces LGBTQ+ students and their college experience may improve their success on campus.”
Another organization, the Agriculture Club, is available to all students, even if they’re not enrolled in agriculture classes. “The Agriculture Club is a member of both Missouri and National Post-Secondary Agriculture Student organizations (the equivalent of FFA for College students),” said adviser Linda Wulff-Risner. “Agriculture Club is very active in educational, service and recreational activities. We attend the Springfield Farm Fest in the fall and the Cabool AG Fest in the spring. We also attend the state convention and competitions annually, and students who place well at the state convention can advance to national convention.
“We like to have fun too,” she continued. “Fall brings a trip to the lake for boating, tubing and skiing, a float trip to enjoy the fall colors and bonfires and cook outs. Spring brings more float trips, homecoming and AG Week.”