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500 student organizations and counting

The Center for Student Involvement added over 50 student organizations during the 2012-2013 school year.

Story by Caitlin Scott

The University of Iowa Division of Student Life welcomed over 50 new student organizations since the beginning of fall 2012, providing a home for groups like the Iowa City Longboarders Club, the Amateur Radio Club, and even the UI Knitting Club.

“We have over 500 clubs and so it appears that there is one out there for everybody, but clearly there’s not,” Eric Rossow, Administrative Services Coordinator, UI Division of Student Life says. “People are always dreaming up new things.”

In order to launch a new organization at UI, a club must find at least five interested students, register the organization on the student organization portal OrgSync, and create an organization constitution. The Student Organization Review Committee (SORC) then reviews the constitution for approval.

The Iowa City Longboarders Club is one of over 50 new organizations to be approved by the Center for Student Involvement & Leadership during the 2012-2013 academic year.

Iowa City Longboarding Club. Photo by Scott Lahn

Iowa City Longboarding Club
Photo by Scott Lahn/ Student Life Marketing + Design

UI students with a passion for longboarding created an informal Facebook group one year ago, but decided their group could expand and run more effectively with UI support. Ron Arder, second-year student and Colt Barone, first-year student, decided to apply for official student organization status during the fall 2012 semester in order to better share tips and tools, and to organize large-scale group rides.

“I was surprised that no one else tried to get the club official recognition especially considering how much support is behind it now that it’s in the process,” says Ron Arder, Iowa City Longboarders Club President. “By becoming an organization, we can reach out to longboarders on campus and provide a place where we can share our love of the sport.”

According to Rossow, athletic and recreational clubs have always been popular on campus. The UI currently recognizes 47 sports clubs and nine recreation and wellness clubs. Recently though, volunteer-based organizations have also started a growing trend on campus.

“We have had a lot of student organizations apply that are more like service-based in the last three semesters” Rossow says. “Many of them want to help raise awareness and money for organizations abroad.”

A few student organizations have also reapplied for recognition, like the Multi-Ethnic Engineering and Science Association (MESA). According to Rossow, MESA, which provides tutoring services to the Iowa City Community School District. The organization, established at the UI for almost twenty years, fell off the recognition status. This year interested students reapplied for and received recognition.

Arder encourages students to branch out, network, and consider creating a group – no matter how unique it might be.

Iowa City Longboarding Club. Photo by Scott Lahn

Photo by Scott Lahn/ Student Life Marketing + Design.

“With the amount of students we have enrolled here I can guarantee someone loves the same thing you do enough to make a student org. out of it,” Arder says. “I didn’t know [the Iowa City Longboarders Club] co-founder Colt Barone, but it turns out he was as eager to start this organization as I was.”