Who’s Getting Involved? Studies Show that Student Involvement is Essential to the College Experience

By Justina Kilumelume, Staff Writer

Seniors Grant Abrams and Chris Wachiralappaitoon take a break from their 9th week studies to play a quick game of ping pong in the Game Room. Studies have shown that campus involvement is as much a part of the college experience as academics. (Photo by Allison Tinsey)

Studies have shown that student involvement in the campus community is vital to a successful college experience. Generally, smaller colleges like Kalamazoo College, tend to have higher percentages of student involvement because it is easier for students to find ways of getting involved.

K allocates many resources to programs such as study abroad, service learning, student organizations, internships and externships, and other campus activities in order to encourage students to be more invested in the college experience.

Students who are more involved spend more time on campus, participating in campus events; this allows them to have more interactions with faculty, staff, and their fellow students.

“It is very important for students to get involved because it enhances what you are doing academically. Especially at a liberal arts institution where your goal is to explore, you are supposed to try on these different things and perspectives and find your voice within that,” said Kate Yancho, Assistant Director of Student Involvement.

In the past six years, K has seen an increase in the satisfaction of students concerning events and resources provided to encourage student participation. The Office of Student Involvement has been very intentional in utilizing student input in order to plan events.

Both Yancho and Brian Dietz have been working hard to achieve their goal, which is to provide resources that will make it easy for students to plan their own events, create student organizations, travel to conferences, and more.

“We wanted to make sure that the students not only had a voice of input but also of planning the events,” Yancho said.

Success in student involvement is seen in more than just the number of people who attend events.  According to The Office of Student Activities, the most important thing is how involved and engaged the students are, and that the students are able to stay the whole time and enjoy the event at a deeper level.

“I was mostly involved as student employee; I worked on campus. That was really important to me and my time in college, and has really shaped who I became as a professional,” said Yancho. “I was also a theatre and dance major so I was involved in organizations that promoted theater and dance.”

The trend at K shows that male students are slightly less involved than female students. The 2011-2012 academic school year statistics show that 41.8 percent of male students showed up to all events that year as compared to 58.2 percent of female students. Despite these statistics, a recent survey has shown that a higher percentage of male students report being satisfied with their overall college experience compared to female students.

There are so many ways of getting involved. You don’t have to lead a student organization—just helping to plan an event or simply attending a meeting is being involved.