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Opinion

Student involvement an important aspect of college life

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September 18, 2014

It is hard to believe that summer is almost completely behind us, and soon, we will already be a month into the new school year. Students are getting settled into their dorms, apartments, or houses, getting used to a new schedule and set of syllabi and, of course, trying to fit in by joining a club, group or ensemble.

Some of these clubs, groupsand ensembles are chalk full of both new and existing members, while others only find ten or fewer interested individuals. While it may seem a little irritating that I incorporate shameless plugging into this week’s edition, my main message to everyone is to get involved on campus: find a new hobby, refine an existing one and make new friends. You will never know what you are missing out on until you step out of your comfort zone.

Many of the activities I am involved with here on campus are activities that I have pursued all four years of college. As a music minor and a flute player, I joined the UWRF Symphony Band my freshman year in order to refine my musical abilities. Now that I am in my fourth year, I can honestly say that I can look back and notice how much I have grown as a musician and a person just by being a part of this one ensemble. Unfortunately, in the last year, enrollment numbers have spiraled downwards as a result of graduation and student teaching. It is our mission as band members to recruit musicians on every corner of campus. We will once again have a thriving ensemble, and they, too, can grow as a musician and person.

The UWRF Symphony Band meets every Monday and Wednesday from 11:00 a.m. to 12:50 p.m. and every Friday from 11:00 to 11:50 a.m. Most days, we meet in room 129 of the Kleinpell Fine Arts building (the band room), although some rehearsals (especially before concerts) are in the William Abbott Concert Hall. Because an audition is required in order to be a part of the ensemble, most members are music majors and minors who have a high level of experience on their instrument. However, students from other departments are welcome to join Symphony Band as well, as long as they are successful in their audition.

As a band, we average about two to four concerts a semester, most on Tuesdays or Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. in the concert hall. We also have other fun events, such as guest composers and conductors and tours. For example, last February, we took a weekend trip to Chicago, and it was a great way to get to know the other band members. The following month, we hosted a conductor from Spain. Although there was an obvious language barrier, we were able to communicate through the language of music and discover how truly powerful that could be. Currently, Symphony Band is actively searching for more trombone players, double reed players (including oboe and bassoon), tuba players, and flute players.

Another club that I am a part of that is looking for new members is the Literary Society. This year, I will be serving as the club’s secretary, and it is my job to get people interested in what we do. We meet every Monday of the semester (excluding finals week) at 6:00 p.m. in the South Hall student lounge. We discuss our favorite books, plays, and films, but we also host several great events throughout the year. These events include Creative Writing night, Poetry, and our most popular event, the Murder Mystery Party. This year, we are also working towards trying some new events, including having an author visit and a Community Poetry Slam. Everyone on campus is welcome to join; you do not have to be an English major or minor. We will always be more than happy to see new members. Because some of our existing members are about to graduate, Literary Society is actively searching more than ever for new members.

Whether you are a musician, bookworm or athlete, there is always something on campus for you. Even if it does not seem like there is, it is up to you to jump out of your comfort zone and try new things. It seems cliché, but you will enjoy college much more if you get involved. Some of my closest friends on campus were made as a result of joining things like band and Literary Society. Someday, when you look back on your time here, you will want to remember that you took advantage of every second.

Cristin Dempsey is an English major and music minor from Eagan, Minn. She enjoys writing, playing the flute and swimming. After college she would like to pursue a career as an editor.