Stagnant Students: Is student involvement reaching a dead end?

By Kylie Chisholm:

Assumption College’s annual Relay for Life event successfully raised more than $19,000 for the American Cancer Society to help cancer patients and cancer research. However, the event also gave way to another rising issue: a decline in student involvement on Assumption’s campus. It seems that with each incoming class, fewer students are joining clubs or attending events like Relay for Life on campus.

Relay for Life, held last Saturday, hosted more than 130 participants split into 13 different teams who vowed to fight against cancer in the Plourde Recreation Center. Despite pushes to advertise the event and entertainment with performances from the Assumption College Dance Team and a capella group Hound Sound, Relay for Life has seen a steady decrease in the amount of participants over the last four years.

Relay for Life Co-Chair Sheila Orlando says in 2016, more than 370 participants attended the annual event. Since then, the number of participants has decreased to 310 in 2017, 190 in 2016, to this year’s 130 participants. Roughly half of those participants, according to Orlando, attend the event every year as part of an outside involvement on campus like dance team or student government.

“Students don’t appear interested in attending school events or becoming more involved,” Orlando stated in an interview after the event. “I often see the same students at all of the events.” 

Relay for Life is not the only the event struggling to maintain participants year after year. Assumption senior and Student Government Association President Julia Demkowicz described how hard it has been to get students involved in large campus organizations like SGA and Campus Activities Board.

“Since my freshman year, I have noticed a significant decline in student involvement in clubs and in events,” Demkowicz states. “The number of students who have run in SGA elections as well as the number of general CAB members in particular have decreased over the years.”

The reason for this declining trend is unclear. Demkowicz says students just seem less interested in becoming involved in campus activities. In a survey Demkowicz conducted of Assumption students for SGA, most students seemed more interested in social engagement on campus through athletic events and an on campus bar rather than through extracurricular activities.

Despite the apparent decrease in campus involvement in Assumption’s community, thousands of articles and research aim to prove that campus involvement is beneficial for college students. US News outlines campus involvement leads to connections, community building, and self discovery as well as the development of vital skills like time management. The same can be said for Assumption’s community. 

“Getting involved creates friendships and students are able to work together to make life at Assumption more fun!” Demkowicz states. “Without involvement, a major piece of the college experience is missing from student’s lives.”

Others who attended Relay for Life seem to agree, with senior Mark San Clemente saying in an interview featured above “I’ve loved my time at Assumption, and it’s all because I got involved.”

As future college students enter Assumption, these three involved students all hope to see greater interest and involvement on campus. Students interested in becoming involved can visit Assumption’s website for a list of on campus clubs and organizations.

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