The Power of Involvement A letter from Michelle McIlvoy, Manager of the Office of Student Involvment

Dear students of WSU Vancouver:

Why does involvement matter? It matters because you matter! At WSU Vancouver there are infinite opportunities for you to connect with your passions, to hang out with peers who like to do similar things and to build your skills.

The ways you get involved are up to you, but let me share a few insights. Research shows if you take time to get involved outside the classroom you WILL BE more SUCCESSFUL academically. What? How is that? It is because through involvement you feel more comfortable, you build your abilities and you create a support network.

Based on your comfort level you may attend an event or two to get started or you may jump in and join an organization right away. Either way it does not matter. The important step here is that you are connecting! I encourage you to go beyond just this first step, however, and do something that is a bit more outside your comfort zone. I was recently reminded that we learn when we are in our challenge zone. Think about it this way: We have three zones by which  an live — comfort zone, challenge zone and danger zone. If all of our actions are in the comfort zone then there really is not a chance to learn and grow but if in the danger zone our guard is up and we are not able to function.

So I encourage you to test your own challenge zone a bit and enlist a friend or two. Reach out and introduce yourself to someone new, attend an event on a controversial issue, support a classmate who invited you to an event she is organizing and plan to connect your passions in a new way. Learn about people who are different from you, really listen to a topic that you already have made up your mind about or support a cause. By doing this you are able to build skills in areas that employers want: effective communication, ability to work with diverse individuals, interpersonal skills, goal-orientation, etc.

This is YOUR college experience.  Enjoy it throughout your time here at WSU Vancouver. It makes me sad when I hear seniors say: “I should have…” or “I wish I would have…” Do not fall in to this category. Instead take advantage of what is available. Join a club, deejay for KOUG radio, sign up to play soccer, represent the student body as a member of ASWSUV, volunteer for a program, help plan a new event, get an internship, write articles for the VanCougar, attend a workshop or submit a poem to the Salmon Creek Journal…need I go on? If so, stop by the Office of Student Involvement for more opportunities or for a personal conversation about your future involvement at WSU Vancouver. This is your college experience. Make it memorable and worthwhile!

Michelle McIlvoy
Manager, Office of Student Involvement

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