Friday, September 20, 2013

The Oncoming Swarm

By Blake Eaton

Anyone who exercises regularly at a university gym knows the phenomenon: At the beginning of the year, a swarm of enterprising young fitness buffs flock to the fitness center only to drop like flies in a matter of weeks. So it wasn’t unexpected when I found myself having to strategically choose the times I spent at the gym these past couple of weeks. Thankfully, I seem to have found my niche; it turns out that college students don’t typically wake up at 7 in the morning.

I may have avoided the crowds, but the odd thing is that those crowds haven’t disappeared. Perhaps kids these days finally understand the value of good exercise. Maybe we’ve reached some sort of generational turning point. It’s only a few years until we reach an uber-fit utopia!

Or not.

I think this surge of gym rats at UT Dallas is really the result of something I’ve discussed before on this blog. We are witnessing a school on the rise. Over the past five years, the university’s student body has grown by more than 5,000 students—a whopping 34%! On top of that, the number of top-tier students has skyrocketed, with 88 National Merit Finalists beginning to study at UT Dallas this year alone. When you put it perspective, it makes sense that the gym feels a bit crowded.

In some ways, this growth is inconvenient. Not only is the gym crowded, but busy faculty advisors are swamped with students, and the university has been scrambling in some instances to find room for the amount of classes it needs to host. Overall, these facts could give the impression that the school has bitten off more than it can chew.

I couldn’t disagree more with that sentiment. It would be easy for UT Dallas to kick up its feet and let the status quo maintain itself. As it stands, the university is a pretty great place to be. The hard-working professors, advisors, and employees of UT Dallas want more, though. They want this school to truly grow as a community and as an institute of higher learning.

Take, for instance, the Supplemental Instruction program. Started just one year ago, the program has already grown to provide study sessions and services to over a dozen historically difficult classes. I may be biased (I’m a Supplemental Instruction Leader myself), but I see SI as an emblem of what UT Dallas stands for. It stands for looking forward, for seeing what the future can be instead of what the present is. 

When I see the flock of new students on campus, when I see the oncoming swarm, I smile because I know that it means we’re doing something right.

Friday, September 13, 2013

How to Get Involved at UT Dallas

By Vinni Anandham

Welcome Back UT Dallas Students!

I spent the majority of my summer working here at UT Dallas, and while I love my job, I got really tired of looking at a half empty campus. It is so wonderful to see all your lovely faces now that the semester has started, and I’m sure many of you are trying to find ways to get involved. Though there are a variety of things to do and get involved with at UT Dallas, many of you might wonder where you should start.

Well, I would highly recommend that you start by creating an OrgSync account at: www.utdallas.edu/orgsync/login. On OrgSync, you will find plenty of information about all the registered student organizations on campus. Many organizations have also posted pictures, videos and details of events. If you like what you see, send the organization’s president and/or advisor an e-mail to get in contact with them to find out how you can join.

Many students ignore this wonderful resource, especially in their freshmen year, but I suggest you take advantage of it and see what more you can learn. After all the excitement of Welcome Week, there will still be plenty of events on campus. The question is: How will you know and where will you find it? Well, OrgSync has a list of events happening on campus sorted by date so you don’t miss out on any of the fun.

If you still come to find that you need help searching for or contacting an organization, or on how to get involved, or even using OrgSync then stop by the SOF office (2.416C) located in the Student Engagement Suite (2.4) in the SU across from the Galaxy rooms and talk to either Vinni (that’s me!) or my wonderful co-worker Garrett! We love for people to stop by and talk to us, so come over just to say “Hello!” We look forward to meeting you all and helping you get involved on campus!

Let’s begin the year with a Whoosh!