Happy Friday, everyone!
The other day, I had someone message me on Instagram asking how they could get involved at UCF when they start in the fall. This question is simple to ask, but is honestly SO HARD to answer.
Why? Because there are countless ways to get involved at this amazing school!
Each student has a different involvement journey that is shaped by their unique personalities, interests, and career goals. BUT, there are some common places to start for all new students who feel lost.
Looking back on my years here, I've compiled my top five ways to get involved as a new student. Read them, enjoy them, but most importantly, USE them to create your own path:
Attend EVERYTHING the first week of classes!Each year, the UCF Office of First Year Experience hosts an amazing event called "Pegasus Palooza." This is UCF's official welcome week; filled with tons of events to inform, entertain, and engage new UCF students.
I was honored this past fall to serve as the Marketing Coordinator, where I spent countless hours posting on social media, tabling at student orientations, and communicating with campus partners to make sure ALL students felt excited about this event.
This week was instrumental for my involvement journey as a freshman. In fact, I even volunteered at the events, despite it being my first week on campus. If you are a new student, I HIGHLY encourage you to attend as many of the events as you can, including KoRT's Opening Knight, which is a huge club showcase that happens each year. And if you're feeling extra brave, try volunteering like I did! It's a great way to meet people (and score free food).
Join an Agency in the Office of Student Involvement (OSI)If you attend ANY event at UCF, chances are it is hosted by an agency in OSI.
This office is responsible for major events like UCF Homecoming, Knight-Thon, Knights Give Back, Mr. and Miss UCF, Knightfest, and more. There is also OSI Creative Services, which is comprised of student graphic designers, DJs, videographers, and other creatives who lend their services to different OSI agencies and campus departments.
Students can volunteer with an agency, and even work their way up to be a director! This is what I did: starting out as a marketing volunteer, then Communications Intern, and now serve as the director of OSI Black & Gold Studios. The directors and OSI Creative Services positions are also PAID opportunities. The lesson here: involvement can be a fun AND lucrative experience!
Make Friends in your Housing CommunityOne of the best things about UCF is their on-campus housing. If you are a shy person, this is the EASIEST way to get involved early on. A lot of the housing communities are strategically created so that students can meet each other.
I lived in Libra my freshman year, and still remember staying up until 2 a.m. talking with my floormates! We went to events together, ate together, and even studied together.
The housing communities also plan events specific to that community, which is an invaluable way to meet others outside your room or floor. Making friends my first year helped me feel less alone, and also made picking classes and getting involved across campus easier.
Make KnightConnect your BFFIf you're new, you are probably asking yourself, "What the heck is KnightConnect?" Here's your answer: it is an involvement LIFESAVER.
KnightConnect is a website built exclusively for UCF students to get involved. After signing in with your UCF NID and password, you have unlimited access to all 600+ clubs, upcoming events, job applications, and more. This site also lists all of the OSI agencies, including Knights of the RoundTable (KoRT), which controls all clubs.
Another resource that KoRT has is their KnightQuest consultations, where students can meet 1:1 with a trained consultant to build their involvement journey based on what they like and want to do--all for FREE!
Follow UCF (and UCF-Related Accounts) on Social MediaIf it wasn't obvious, I L O V E social media. It is such a powerful tool for sharing information, connecting with others, and distracting yourself from that paper you realllllllly don't want to write (it's #true). But it is also a great resource for getting involved!
The main university accounts do an amazing job of sharing campus events and involvement opportunities for students, but I also recommend following your UCF academic college, the OSI agencies, UCF SGA, and UCF Student Union on social media. All of these accounts are catered to engaging students (and are run by students!).
I hope that these tips were helpful for you! Feel free to comment any questions you have about UCF below. You can also follow me on social for even more UCF and me-related content!