Campus Clubs: Building Community for Students at the U


(Photo Courtesy of Utah Freeskier Society)

By Stevie Shaughnessey, Home Stretch Producer, Host


As new students prepare to attend the University of Utah in the fall, many may start to wonder how they will find their community at such a large school.

Josh Olszewski, the student organizations coordinator at the Department of Student Leadership & Involvement at the U, thinks campus clubs often have the solution.

“We have 527 active recognized student organizations on campus, and this is anything from sports clubs to fraternities and sororities, academic groups, service, recreation, outdoor clubs and gaming clubs,” Olszewski said. “You name it, there’s probably a club for that.”

Student organizations help make the transition into college easier, providing a space for students to meet people and do the things they enjoy, said Lauren Branz, a sophomore at the U studying marketing and a member of the Fashion in Business organization.

“Being from out of state … it can be really daunting to come to a huge university with thousands of people,” Branz said. “If you join a club to try new things, it’s inevitable you’re going to meet cool people with similar interests.”

To join one of the on-campus organizations, Olszewski recommended students log into Campus Connect, which has the profiles of every active club. At the beginning of each semester, the U also holds events for clubs to recruit members. Olszewski said this is a great way for students to ask questions about the organizations they are interested in.

“We also host the Get Involved Fair, which we host usually at the beginning of fall semester and the beginning of the spring semester,” Olszewski said. “There are more than 200 organizations out there. It’s a great way to meet students in person, and explore a lot of the clubs that we have.”

Some of the clubs on Campus Connect include Crimson Gaming, Fashion in Business and the Freeskier Society.

Yovanni Valdez, a third-year student studying strategic communication and marketing, is Fashion in Business’s current chief marketing officer. He said the organization has helped him explore the world of fashion while creating a vibrant community for anyone to enjoy and be a part of.

“I have met some of the most amazing and creative individuals through this organization and it has opened the door for so many professional and career opportunities that I would not have had without my participation in the organization,” Valdez said.

Branz explained these clubs create spaces for people to pursue their passions in a fun way, and anyone is welcome to participate despite their major or background. 

“We have a pretty wide range of types of people who join,” Branz said. “We try to do a lot of different things in terms of our events and the speakers we have. It’s a place for people to come together.”

The Freeskier Society aims to make skiing and snowboarding more available to students.

“Our goal is to make skiing more accessible and affordable by providing pass discounts and giveaways while also providing a community for those who want to get into skiing or already have experience,” said Ned Patron, a senior in the club studying film and media arts.

If students don’t find a club they are interested in, Olszewski said they can reach out to the U’s Department of Student Leadership & Involvement at the beginning of the fall semester to apply to create their own campus club. In 2023 alone, the U has recognized over 100 new student-led organizations, according to Olszewski.

“[To start a club], you need at least three currently enrolled students,” Olszewski said. “As long as they’re not doing anything illegal that breaks university policy or that is discriminatory, and it’s not an exact replica of an existing club, we pretty much approve any application that comes our way.”

Valdez thinks clubs at the U give students the opportunity to find their place in college, providing memorable experiences and avenues for students to pursue their passions.

“Finding a community on campus is one of the most valuable experiences you can have as a college student that everyone should take advantage of,” Valdez said.


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