Freshmen WYA?


Freshman embark on their first service mission with Rockhurst during Orientation weekend’s Finucane project. Photo courtesy of Rockhurst University’s PR/Marketing department.

Alex Zoellner, Reporter

Rockhurst University takes pride in hosting over 70 on-campus clubs and organizations. By choosing to get involved, students have the opportunity to make friends, create leadership skills, develop their interests and most importantly, have fun. However, various Rockhurst clubs and organizations reported a lack of freshmen participation this fall semester.

With UNITY, Voices for Justice, Black Student Union and other groups experiencing low freshmen numbers, organization leaders are looking for an answer. There are an abundance of clubs ranging from personal, social, political, recreational, religious, and common interests, and even the opportunity to create your own organization, so a lack of options certainly does not explain the attendance hole that freshmen need to fill.

One explanation could be that the 2022-23 freshmen class is significantly smaller than those of previous years. While Rockhurst enrolled just under 300 freshmen this year, the past three classes boasted totals of around 400 or more students, according to Rockhurst Student Life. With less students, there is bound to be lower numbers for attendance at meetings and events.

Freshmen who spoke with the Sentinel shared other reasons for the lack of participation.

Coming into a brand-new school and knowing few people, students were nervous to attend meetings and join clubs alone at the start of the semester. Additionally, adjusting to college can be difficult, so freshmen reported that they had limited time for meetings amidst their busy school and practice schedules. But, the one explanation that a number of freshmen offered was that they were unaware of many of the on-campus organizations and were not sure how to become a member.

“I wasn’t really sure how to join clubs at the beginning of the year, and I feel like it’s a little awkward to join now that they’ve already started,” freshman Mia Adkins said.

While all these reasons are understandable and explain the freshmen activity absences, now is the time for everyone to get involved. Whether you and your friends are looking for something new to try out or it is finally your team’s off-season, second semester is the perfect time to join an organization. The Free Stuff Fair back in August showed off many of Rockhurst’s on-campus groups, but some students may not have been able to attend. It is important for clubs to continue advertising throughout the school year to keep drawing more students in.

“I am on social media everyday trying to find things to do around campus, so I think if they advertised meetings better there and maybe did pop up events occasionally more people would go to meetings,” Adkins said.

Freshmen involvement is an integral piece in both the success of the organization and in a student’s college experience. Groups need a balanced number of students from each grade to ensure their organization can thrive for years to come; input from all age ranges, backgrounds and perspectives allows for better discussions within meetings. As far as benefiting the student goes, taking part in school organizations creates new social opportunities, chances to explore one’s interests and the ability to feel a better sense of belonging at Rockhurst.

“I think students who attend our club are exposed to a very home-like atmosphere while being away from home,” InterVarsity Christian Fellowship leader Brayden Dulny said, “It creates a space for peers to meet one another and develop deeper friendships.”

Not only will joining on-campus clubs and organizations improve your Rockhurst experience, but it can also help prepare you for the future. According to a research study done at the Center for the Study of Student Life at The Ohio State University, student involvement in co-curricular activities has a positive impact on career outcomes. The study showed that participating in clubs and organizations is related to academic performance, cognitive development, well-being, leadership and multicultural awareness. Overall, employers rated students with more involvement in co-curricular activities as more likely to be hired than those with less or no involvement.

So as the semester comes to a close, take the time to check out all the amazing clubs and organizations Rockhurst has to offer. Whether you are a freshman or even a senior, there is sure to be a group that fits your interests and many benefits that will come along with joining. Let’s make the second semester count!


If you are interested in joining the Sentinel staff, we would love to have you! Please contact Editors Sariana Barbarotta, [email protected], or Alex Garcia, [email protected] for more information.