Should We Be More Social Penguins?

Feb 06, 2013 No Comments by

Student involvement and participation are vital parts of a student’s role at any college or university.

The skills gained through these activities help students achieve a level of intelligence, education, responsibility and social skills necessary for almost any career.

So, then, why is participation in extracurricular activities at a bit of a lull at Clark College?

Students at Clark deal with a different kind of educational atmosphere than the average university. Students commute from their homes to attend classes rather than live on campus.

Washington State University Vancouver is similar in that respect, yet it is a four-year university.

“Due to the nature of WSU-V being a non-traditional commuter campus rather than a residence campus, involvement is … on a smaller scale,” student Kimberly Lawrence said.

Some students argue that Clark doesn’t offer enough activities that meet their interests. They believe the college only offers sports programs for students to become involved in.

However, Clark offers more than 35 chartered clubs, ranging from the Aerospace Club to the Diesel Dog Club. This number doesn’t include unchartered clubs and activities found on campus.

It might make sense for a student to use their time at Clark exclusively to study for a better chance at earning good grades.

Clark student Leslie Smith feels otherwise.

“I think it’s motivational to be social,” Smith said. “It gives me motivation to do well when I feel like a part of something.”

Smith is a member of Clark’s Concert Choir, which meets three times a week. Smith said participating in the choir makes schoolwork less bothersome.

Community college students’ biggest obstacle to participating in school-related activities is working at a full-time job.

In fact, the American Association of Community Colleges says the average age of a community college student is 29 years old, an age which many people need to be – and are – employed.

While free time may be hard to come by for many students, becoming involved is important for students who hope to transfer. Many universities prefer a more well-rounded student rather than one who earned a 4.0 GPA with no extracurricular involvement.

Extracurricular programs recognize this as well.

The main objective for many extracurricular programs is to assist students with schoolwork they may have related to the given club or group, according to an article written by Amy M. Tenhouse.

That same article stressed that these activities also promote the soft skills that can’t necessarily be taught in a classroom, like time management, social interaction and camaraderie.

“Extracurricular activities provide a channel to apply academic skills to real-life experiences,” Clark Athletic Director Charles Guthrie said. “Clark has wonderful programs that engage students outside the classroom.”

These out-of-textbook skills are beneficial not only for the pathway to a degree, but are also helpful for self-confidence, motivation and responsibility.


About the author

Michael Lusk is the Campus Editor at The Independent. Contact Michael
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