Campus Cultural Clubs Help Find a Niche

Learn more about student organizations based around a common culture or background.

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Making a transition to a new environment such as college can be overwhelming. Many students are concerned about finding a place where they belong among the multitudes of fellow incoming freshmen.

But the university environment has changed a lot in recent years. More than ever, colleges are seeking to foster diversity by encouraging cultural clubs. Even those with various cultural, ethnic and linguistic backgrounds can often find students with similar backgrounds.

Joining a cultural club is a great way to find similar students and develop lasting friendships.

The What and Why of Cultural Clubs

Because they come from a different cultural and linguistic heritage, international students sometimes have a tough time adjusting to college. The main purpose of cultural, ethnic and language clubs is to provide a community for such students. Instead of asking students to abandon their backgrounds, many universities use ethnic and cultural clubs to enrich diversity on campus.

Language clubs can serve a similar purpose, giving students a place to talk to each other in their native language. At many colleges, however, language clubs are also a place for those learning a language to practice speaking. As a result, members of these clubs can vary from beginning speakers to native speakers, creating diversity within the organization.

Because many cultural clubs are student-run organizations, their agendas differ from college to college. Many emphasize outreach activities, visiting lecturers and festivals to share their culture with the rest of the campus community.

Examples of Cultural Clubs

One of the best examples of cultural clubs is the University of Michigan, an institution that actively celebrates the diversity of its student body. In addition to numerous student organizations, the University of Michigan has a multicultural council in all of its residence halls, which students can choose to join. Any cultural club can use the Trotter Multicultural Center for events.

A smaller school, Boston College, also has many opportunities for student cultural involvement. Its numerous clubs range from relatively specific ethnic backgrounds (the Armenian Club) to a broader cultural heritage (the Asian Caucus).

Of course, cultural clubs aren’t limited to public schools. Princeton University’s Field Center has a variety of programs to promote equality and cultural understanding. Some of these programs include guest lecturers and workshops, while others are social events for students to get to know each other.

Joining a Cultural Club: Pros, Cons, and Controversy

You have to search pretty hard to find a downside to joining a cultural club. It’s a great way to find similar students and develop lasting friendships, and it can provide much-needed support as you adjust to college life.

The main issue with cultural clubs is that membership could lead to a somewhat homogenized network of friends. But don’t let this discourage you from joining one. You can always meet people outside your group.

Occasionally, multicultural programs can sometimes cause controversy, particularly by holding radical views or inviting contentious guest speakers. Recently, the University of California - Santa Barbara, hosted conservative activist David Horowitz, upsetting Muslim students on campus.

This sort of university-sponsored event is out of a student club’s control, but if you feel that your organization’s agenda or views do not reflect well upon you, you may want to join a different club.

People Who Read This Article Also Read:

Clubs and Student Organizations for International Students
Student Organizations: An Overview
Student Government
Environmental Groups on Campus
Student Religion: Religious Groups on Campus
The College Academic Calendar
Academic Competitions for College Students
How To Start Your Own Student Organization

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