Cougs get involved


Sean Frego

Darren Zemanek | Daily Evergreen File

Getting involved is the name of the college game, according to the organizers of a fair aimed at building student groups.

The Cougs Connect: Campus and Community Involvement Fair will take place from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Wednesday in the CUB Senior Ballroom.

The fair, which represents the combined effort of Student Involvement and the Center for Civic Engagement (CCE), will provide information about the variety of clubs offered at WSU as well as community service opportunities in and around Pullman.

“This is a one-stop shopping experience for getting involved,” said Erin McIlraith, marketing and communication coordinator for the CCE.

The event will also feature various forms of entertainment, including dancers and musicians, a photo booth, and an Xbox One gaming system.

Students will also be able to participate in a birdhouse-painting service project that supports Habitat for Humanity. ASWSU will provide free peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Cougs Connect simplifies the process of finding a niche for students overwhelmed by busy schedules, McIlraith said.

Assistant Director Humberto M. Cerrillo, II said involvement builds the characteristics necessary for success in students’ future careers.

“I believe strongly the more students are involved, the greater development of their skills they receive as leaders,” Cerrillo said.

Making smart decisions for an organization, taking on responsibility and communicating with others are all qualities businesses look for when they hire recent graduates, Cerrillo said.

Marketing Coordinator Molly Gagnon agreed involvement is key to standing out among job candidates.

“A lot of students think that getting good grades is a good way to succeed, but there are a lot of different paths to success, and students can give themselves a competitive advantage if they get involved because they can gain hands-on experience in what they are passionate about,” Gagnon said.

Students might hesitate to add something more to their busy schedules, however Cerrillo said time management is a focal point of many student organizations.

“These are opportunities to dive deeper into your field of study or an area you’re not as exposed to get new experiences,” he said. “(Students) can determine the value of that for themselves.”

An easy solution is to start small by attending club meetings – an hour each week – and working up from there, said Nicole Ferry, the student organization advisor for Student Involvement.

CougSync, a website that revolves around WSU student organizations, is an efficient way to find opportunities based on one’s interests, said Gagnon.

“It’s our hope as the student involvement office to do more activities that engage students and increase their involvement in clubs and organizations in our campus,” Cerrillo said. “And I expect that over the next few years, as we focus more on this goal, we will see the number of people involved increase.”