Photo of a member of the CWRUCIO Quidditch team throwing a ball through the hoop

New to CWRU Week 2: Make friends through student organizations

The start of a new academic year is always a cause for celebration. For the newest Case Western Reserve University students, it is an exciting—albeit uncertain—time. As the members of the Class of 2027 make their way to campus this month, we’re sure they have plenty of questions as they begin their journeys. To help the Class of 2027 and new transfer students start the year with confidence, we’re sharing advice from upperclass students, orientation leaders, and staff and faculty members throughout the month. And who knows? Even seasoned members of the CWRU community might learn something new.

Making your way to campus as a new student this fall? Odds are, you won’t know many people when you first arrive. Though you might be coming from a high school in which you’ve known most of your peers since childhood, you’re now faced with the challenge of making friends in a new place. But the good news is you’re not alone—and there are plenty of ways to connect with those around you, even if you’re an introvert.

One of the best ways to meet students with similar interests at Case Western Reserve University is by joining one of our many student organizations. With more than 200 to choose from, there are seemingly endless opportunities to find your niche, whether you’re into theater, student government, sports or something else entirely.

We’re sure you’ve done your research and you probably know all of that already, but it’s time to put all of that research into action. Whether you’ve pinpointed your organizations of interest or plan to figure it out once you get here, you might benefit from the following advice from some upperclass students on getting started with new student organizations.

Ready to jump in? Check out the list of student organizations and plan to attend the Student Activities Fair during Discover Week Sunday, Aug. 27, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Freiberger Field.

Answers have been lightly edited for clarity and length.

Viraj Gorthi

Major: Biology with integrated Master of Public Health
Year: Fourth year

Once they decide to stick with an organization, what do you suggest new students do to get the full experience?

Come to as many meetings as you can! This will make a huge difference because when selecting leadership, officers like to know that the people leading their club have also experienced it as a member. This is also a great way to run into new people, especially upperclass students.

How do student organizations help you make friends?

By coming to meetings, you’ll find people who joined the club with interests similar to yours. This is a great way to start off a conversation that can go beyond club time with a simple exchange of contact information. I’ve made and reconnected with so many friends from club meetings, so definitely don’t discount it as a way to meet new people. This is especially true if you want to meet other people interested in a specific interest, whether that be premed (American Medical Student Association), research (Undergraduate Research Society) or boxing (Boxing Club)!

Eric Kim

Major: Psychology 
Year: Third year 

What is the most overwhelming part about picking student organizations to join and how do you overcome that?

If there aren’t others near you to positively pressure you into joining groups, the most overwhelming part is finding the courage to interact with strangers and open yourself to the many foreign environments on campus. To overcome this fear, I looked around to realize that no one is judging me—rather, everyone is very eager to welcome and connect. 

Once you start attending meetings, what do you do if you decide an organization isn’t for you?

I set a rule for myself: to attend at least three meetings for a club before I made a decision to stick with it or give up. If I found myself dreading the upcoming meeting or event by the third time, then I distanced myself and immediately filled up the extra time I gained by splashing around until I found another org, club or hobby that I vibed with. Simply put, maximize your time experiencing and learning during the first steps of college!

Nicholas Valenta

Major: Nursing
Year: Fourth year

What is the most overwhelming part about picking student organizations to join and how do you overcome that?

Students tend to forget that it’s okay to have varying levels of involvement across the organizations they are part of. You don’t have to be on the executive board for each one. Just take time to figure out what’s important to you and get more involved with the organizations and people you like the most. Also, don’t prioritize clubs over your school work. 

Any other tips for new students starting with student orgs?

Put yourself out there. You might end up liking something you thought you wouldn’t. Or maybe that one club you randomly sign up for will end up being a key component of your CWRU experience. Who knows? If something is interesting to you, look into it. If it works out, then great! If not, then no big deal. The only thing you can do wrong is to not do anything at all.