When students attended orientation sessions this past summer they had the usual questions about academics and campus facilities at UC Merced. One question that kept coming up was: What is there to do on campus?
We said, ‘you tell us,’ said Enrique Guzman, coordinator of student life at UC Merced. As the founding class, incoming freshman and transfer students will be the ones to establish student and campus traditions and start the first clubs and organizations.
At orientation and academic receptions, Guzman had future students list the types of organizations they would want at UC Merced. From that list, he invited clubs from the University’s nine sister campuses, for a student fair that was held on the first day of school, Monday, Sept. 6, followed by an ice cream social.
A wide variety of organizations attended the fair, from community service, political and arts clubs to social clubs and religious and athletic ones. The strongest presence, though, came from cultural organizations.
Cultural clubs were the most requested by the students, said Guzman. I think it’s because they want to make sure that there is a place for them.
Guzman is just giving students a starting point, he said, adding that his office encourages the students to start from scratch and come up with their own ideas for clubs. Clubs can be centered on anything – even a favorite television show. Getting started is as easy as filling out a form. Groups that missed last week’s registration deadline can still register their group next semester.
Already in place at UC Merced’s opening was an engineering student organization, Vanguard, which aims to enhance all facets of student life for engineering majors on campus and act as the umbrella organization for student chapters of engineering societies. Other groups include the Pioneer Club, which plans to produce a yearbook; a Barbecue Club; a Student Government Advisory Committee; a Liberal Activism Club; a Martial Arts Club; Chi Alpha, a Christian group; and the American Medical Students Association.
We just have these type of students with a pioneering spirit, said Guzman. Students that know this campus is for them and want to make the most of it.