Outside the Classroom: Clubs and Organizations

Photo of Barton Hall filled with students during Clubfest

Barton Hall, the location of Club Fest, is filled with students.

One of my personal favorite things about Cornell is the extensive and diverse opportunities every student is given to become involved in extracurricular activities. With events like Club Fest, Project Fest, and various student groups always tabling or handing out quarter-cards on Ho Plaza or in Robert Purcell Community Center, all Cornell students (especially incoming freshmen) are constantly presented with ample opportunities to become involved in the Cornell community.

Whether it be special interest clubs, on-campus organizations, business and pre-law fraternities, or athletic clubs and club sports teams, most, if not all, of these clubs pour a tremendous amount of effort into recruiting and welcoming new members as soon as each freshman class arrives in August. My biggest piece of advice regarding clubs and activities is to always say yes and always be willing to try something new. If you are ever unsure or on the fence about trying something then I would 100% give it a chance and see if it’s something you enjoy because you can always change your mind later on if circumstances change and you are more likely to regret never trying something than you are to regret trying something and not enjoying it. I try to follow that logic myself and always take my chances with new experiences. As for my current involvement,  I am a member of Cayuga’s Watchers, a not-for-profit sober monitoring organization, a delegate of Residential Student Congress, and, starting in Fall 2020, a Residential Advisor.

As engineers, you also uniquely have the opportunity to become a member of an engineering project team. While these organizations are open to individuals from every undergraduate college, they are specifically tailored to suit the interests of engineering students like yourselves. From building bridges or boats or cars, to designing apps, to tackling the climate crisis, Cornell is home to 29 different project teams, each with its own mission and personality. I joined Cornell ChemE Car my first semester at Cornell and can easily say it is without a doubt my favorite extracurricular activity that I participate in on campus; not to mention Cornell’s ChemE Car team is the most decorated in the country, with 4 nationals wins, a feat rivaled by several of Cornell’s premier project team. Though not everyone chooses to join one, I truly believe there is a project team for everyone; I have friends on Baja Racing, Rocketry, Formula Racing, Autonomous Underwater Vehicle, and Engineers for a Sustainable World, just to name a few. Some of the highlights of my freshman year would undoubtedly be the team bonding events and project team socials I attended with ChemE Car and other Engineering Project Teams. I am certain this coming fall you will hear plenty more about the formal recruitment process each project teams follows; it generally consists of the submission of a written application and your resume and either one or two rounds of interviews. Not to worry though, you will have ample opportunity to learn about the many teams at individual team info-sessions, project fest, or by exploring Cornell’s project teams!

All in all, extracurricular activities are just one of the many ways you can shape your own experience at Cornell and to ensure that your four years are the best they can be. I hope you will seize every opportunity you can and fully immerse yourself in the Cornell community by being as involved as possible!

—George ’23, chemical engineering