By Ana Berbel, Assistant Editor
This spring semester has brought new beginnings to West Liberty University with a wide variety of campus initiatives that encourage students to be healthy, sustainable and to get more involved with the campus community. Whether students take up these new opportunities or not, the fact that they are being offered is something that the university should be congratulated on.
Students are now able to join national initiatives such as Exercise is Medicine, which was started by the American Medical Association (AMA) and the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). Another new initiative that just began at WLU is Planned Parenthood. Students are also encouraged to go green with the Sustainability Committee to learn and promote environmental education.
The main reason students don’t join initiatives on campus is because of time management. Being part of an organization or initiative on campus can end up taking some time away from studying or other activities, which in turn pushes potential students away from joining. The reality is that the time that initiatives take up is time well spent. When students get involved in campus initiatives, they are developing social, time management and communication skills.
According to a study done by Christine M. Hegedus, Undergraduate Honors Student University of Arizona and Dr. James Knight, Professor and Head University of Arizona, “Extracurricular organizations are beneficial to college students. They help bring students and faculty together, let students interact in a non-formal atmosphere, and allow students to strengthen their leadership and communications skills.”
Students that participate in initiatives on campus agree that they increase knowledge on the initiative’s subject and help with personal and social growth.
Ryota Nakagi, an international student who currently participates in both the Athletic Training Club and Exercise Is Medicine, said, “I’m pretty sure that it is a good thing that WLU offers so many initiatives for students to take part in. This means we can have a good opportunity to become familiar with what we had not known before. It helps us increase our knowledge and become a more creative person.”
Not only does getting involved in campus initiatives and organizations help develop many different skills within students, but usually, the initiatives are designed to help students in different aspects of their lives to make their college career as successful as possible.
“College can be a very stressful time. It can push you mentally and physically. It is super important to not burn out your body or mind too early on and EIM will show people how to take care/improve themselves. I have always found working out to be an excellent and positive way to work on myself or work out some issues,” said Jonah Estep, student participant in the Exercise Is Medicine initiative. “As a Resident Assistant, I help out with many things on campus. I’m also in Psi Chi, psych club, fitness club, personal training, etc. There is something out there for everyone and some of these programs are based solely on helping out the students.”
New to campus this semester is the Planned Parenthood Generation Action Chapter. SGA President Adam Croasmun decided to start the initiative here at WLU after meeting Emily Thompson, Field Organizer for Planned Parenthood South Atlantic W.Va.
“I started this organization because I believe it can help students in many ways and also advocate for women’s rights across our community. What we plan to do is hand out information on access to contraceptive services. Many students could end up finding themselves in difficult situations, so we want to be there for them and inform them of places to go for help,” said Croasmun. “I think all of these initiatives on campus really help students and it’s truly amazing. As a leader of the student body, I love seeing people succeed and do whatever they can to help others.”
Photo Credit: Jalyn Bolyard