Student leaders model how others can get involved throughout the year

Helping out at the giving garden provides students with an opportunity to give back and meet new people.

UWT student leaders kicked off the school year preparing the campus Giving Garden on Fawcett Avenue for another busy year. Attendees cleaned up the garden for the fall as a team while spending time with their newly made friends.  

The event came on the heels of a leadership conference where students discussed topics like leadership values and teamwork, while helping prepare club executives and student staff members alike for a successful year by offering the opportunity to meet fellow students and expand the campus community before the year started. Through ice breakers and casual conversations, many new relationships were fostered throughout the day.  

For many, the day acted as a model for how their organizations could reach new students throughout the year. These student leaders gained valuable skills that will help them to build strong connections in their respective communities.  

Volunteers prep the raised beds in the UWT Giving Garden. | Photo by Cameron J. Berrens

But for leaders to create and grow this environment, UWT students must show up for the clubs and events—a task that can be a challenge on a campus with many commuting students.  

Alexis Britt, Husky Life Coordinator for the Student Activities Board, also known as SAB, emphasized the importance of putting yourself out there to meet new people.  

“As a transfer student,” Alexis said, “you really have to do it yourself,” in reference to making new friends.  

For Alexis, building relationships at UWT is as simple as taking advantage of the clubs, activities, and events offered on campus.  

Events like the leadership conference are just one example of many opportunities available to students who are taking the first step of getting involved.  

“This job has helped me so much,” Alexis said.  

Getting a job on campus is a surefire way to connect with other students and grow new relationships while learning how to network.  

As a coordinator for the SAB, Alexis hopes to promote events that will help anyone from first-year students to returning students to make new friends and grow community at UWT.  

For students who want to get involved, Alexis recommends checking out the SAB Welcome Days brochure filled with for starting off the new year right. Similarly, following @sabuwt on Instagram is a wonderful way to stay updated with events on campus.  

Reese Ramirez interviews the Director of Student Involvement and Leadership, Conor Leary. | Photo by Cameron J. Berrens

Conor Leary, Director of Student Involvement and Leadership and featured speaker at the conference, shared similar advice for those who want to grow their network on campus.  

“They can be involved!” said Conor when asked about students who feel disconnected.  

Like Alexis, Conor stressed the importance of knowing when the events are happening and just showing up.  

Conor is also aware that college can be a busy time for many students, making it difficult to commit to a club or organization for the year. That is why commitment is not necessary. Anyone can show up to RSO events and club meetings to get a feel for what the group is about before committing. This allows students to try many groups and meet various groups of people before deciding where they’d like to grow their roots.  

For those who are already involved and want to help others find their community, Conor’s advice was simple.  

“Talk about your experience,” Conor said.  

For many students, joining a club, getting a job, or attending an event can feel intimidating. But by simply hearing other’s stories, the step of showing up can appear to be much more attainable. 

Niaz Ahamed and Clare Tupper transplant a bush. | Photo by Cameron J. Berrens

Niaz Ahamed helps international students make connections on campus and build community at the Office of Global Affairs. For Niaz, just showing up is the most crucial step for those who want to get involved.  

“Just go to the events,” Niaz said. “Don’t know anyone? That’s fine. You’ll meet people there”.  

To Niaz, the purpose of these events is to meet people and grow a community. So, it is okay if you don’t know others attending. You’ll meet them at the event! 

“Join as many Registered Student Organizations as possible,” Niaz said.  

This is a foolproof way for students to meet others with similar interests or even gain a new skill. But it can’t happen unless people are willing to step out of their comfort zone and try something new.  

Overall, the Student Leadership Event displayed the value of community-building for the leaders of our RSO’s and campus offices. While on the surface, it was just another beginning of the year meeting, the event served as an opportunity to meet others, grow connections, and improve community at UWT.  

In the process, the event reminded student leaders what clubs and organizations are all about: making new friends and growing community.  

So, this fall, take the advice of student leaders and just get involved! Take advantage of the various resources listing when events take place. Go to events, join clubs, and meet new people.  

You never know who you could meet!  

Make sure to stay updated by following relevant social media pages, looking at the event boards around campus, and reading The Tacoma Ledger. 

Photos by Cameron J. Berrens