The college experience can vary between each and every student not only at Kean, but all around the world. What differentiates these experiences is what students choose to do with their time in university. Being involved in a variety of clubs and organizations makes a student feel connected to their campus community and helps with different aspects of their career. Michael Gonzalez is a student who is putting in his time to get all he can out of his experience at Kean University.
In his freshmen year at Kean, Gonzalez received the Volunteer of the Year award for serving over 180 hours of community service. He holds positions in four different organizations on campus including the following: President of Biology Club, President of Outdoor Adventure and Recreation, Director of Public Relations for Gamma Psi Epsilon and Treasurer for Kean Rotaract Club.
"My clubs, even the ones I am no longer a part of, have impacted me. I thrived in them and gained many friends and new passions," said Gonzalez.
When students are involved, they make new connections and friendships throughout the Kean community. Gonzalez is recognized on campus and people feel comfortable speaking to him when he is around.
The Biology Club is a club for those in and around the biology major. They come together with a common interest in biology and work together to raise funds for their club events and serve the Kean community. By offering hands-on experience, the Biology Club works to help network young professionals in the biology and science fields with possible employment opportunities.
The Outdoor Adventure and Recreation Club is for students looking to explore different activities with a group of peers. As a group they foster an appreciation for the outdoors and travel around New Jersey on different trips to Turtle Back Zoo, Delaware Water Gap, Grounds for Sculpture and more.
"We [Outdoor Adventure and Recreation Club] have been to parks where entire paths are filled to the brim with something out of a Disney film to possibly going to all new places. We [OAR Club] boiled down to a family who want to see what is hidden and be experienced," said Gonzalez.
As president of both these organizations, Gonzalez works to keep members engaged and inspired by the groups. A lot of responsibility is placed on the president of an organization but the payoff is worth the effort.
"It is not easy, but it is rewarding. Inspiring others to go the extra mile and to manage things smoothly," said Gonzalez.
To students looking to work their way up to the position of president in an organization, Gonzalez said, "You need patience and the courage to lean on others for support."
In addition to being president of both Outdoor Adventure and Recreation Club and Biology Club, Gonzalez is also director of public relations for his fraternity, Gamma Psi Epsilon, and treasurer for Kean Rotaract. Kean Rotaract Club is an organization that invites students to work as young leaders in their communities. They work to address issues in their community and grow their personal development. Rotaract focuses on international service projects and educating the community on issues and actions to be taken.
Gonzalez's most recent involvement achievement is joining the Gamma Psi Epsilon fraternity. The Gamma Psi Epsilon fraternity is a group of young men who work to make a difference at Kean University. One of Kean's youngest fraternities, they promote brotherhood, unity and respect.
The primary focus of Greek organizations is to provide awareness of social responsibility, social and personal development, respect for human diversity and intellectual achievement. While every fraternity and sorority are different, they all have the same core values for service and achievement. Greek Life offers a wide range of benefits to those involved. The sororities and fraternities on campus promote and preserve the ideals of scholarship, service leadership, campus involvement, and brotherhood/sisterhood. With over 30 Greek organizations at Kean, there are plenty of options for anyone who is interested.
It has shown that students who make the effort to get involved in activities and organizations on campus are more successful academically. This is a result of working on a routine schedule and working out when things will be done. In addition to academically, it is the students who were involved who look back at their time in college and think fondly of the things they did, the clubs they joined and the people they met.
Kean University recognizes over 160 different clubs and organizations. These organizations are separated into the following eight categories: professional, service, cultural, recreational, religious, performance, governmental and special interest. All of the organizations are unique and have strong goals to better their community, themselves or personal skills.
"If you are looking to actually get something more from Kean, go on a trip with OAR and see what is possible," Gonzalez said. "If you want to further your career in the medical field join, the Biology Club and see what we can do at our Biology Career Conference. If you want to know how to volunteer and get community service and build a family, join Rotaract Club. If you are a young man looking to better yourself, join Gamma Psi Epsilon."
For more information on organizations that one could be a part of, visit Cougar Link.