Parents and guardians play an integral part in encouraging a student to get involved during their time at the University. There are many benefits as to why your student should get involved on campus, such as making the large campus feel smaller, assisting a student figure out their career path, and helping gain admission to a school/college or obtaining an internship.
Campus involvement takes many shapes and forms, whether it through a registered student organization, a research or internship opportunity, recreational sports, volunteering, studying abroad, or through an on-campus job. Students should feel free to pick and choose what is a good fit for them, but having your support will only help your student’s college experience.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How much does it cost to get involved?
A: While most opportunities are free, some opportunities do have a cost associated with them; this is especially true for opportunities with equipment, supplies, travel or that maintain a residence. Some involvement opportunities are even paid positions; there are ones that exist in student organizations.
Q: How many things should my student get involved in?
A: Every student is different in terms of what they are able to commit to outside of course work and other obligations. We recommend students who are new to campus try to get involved in two things: one thing they had been involved with before coming to campus and one thing that is a completely new experience for them.
Q: How much time does it take to be involved?
A: Involvement can take a few hours per week or one hour per month. The more you put into it, the more you’ll get out of it. This is a great question for your student to ask before getting involved in the opportunity.
Q: If I have a first year student, should they get involved right away or wait until they have adjusted to UW?
A: Research shows that getting involved right away can assist with a student’s transition and help them build an immediate support network. Students who get involved are also more likely to stay in college than non-involved students.
Q: What if what my student is looking for is not offered?
A: Many times you can create an opportunity, all you have to do is ask. For example, you can start a new organization with just four students.
Q: Will my student’s grades suffer?
A: Both research and currents students will tell you their grades tend to be better when they are involved. Being involved helps you student learn time management skills and gain real-world experience. It will just important for him or her schedule in time for studying and other healthy habits. Over 90 % of UW students surveyed stated their grades were either not affected or went up from being involved.*
However, if involvement is negatively impacting your student’s grades or academic work, we recommend having a conversation with them about stepping away from an involvement opportunity to refocus their energies on their studies. Reassure them that they can always rejoin or find another opportunity to join when they have pulled their grades back up.
Q: Is there alcohol use in student organizations or fraternities and sororities?
A: While there is a social component involved in with some student organizations, there are other organizations that pride themselves on being a dry alternative for students. Ask your student about the role that alcohol plays in the student organizations they are interested in joining. If alcohol is an issue in an organization, please contact one of the Center for Leadership & Involvement Professional Staff Members or fill out a Committee on Student Organization Complaint Form
Q: Is there hazing in student organizations or fraternities and sororities?
A: While there are very isolated cases of hazing being reported here at UW, it is always a good idea to ask your student about the activities they are participating in. If anything in appropriate is taking place, please contact our office immediately. We have very strict policies and very severe consequences for this type of behavior. If you suspected an organization is hazing new members or members, please contact one of the Center for Leadership & Involvement Professional Staff Members or fill out a Committee on Student Organization Complaint Form
Q: Can I check to see if an organization has violated any university policies?
Yes, on every organization’s WIN page (win.wisc.edu) you are able to check if an organization currently has any judicial sanctions placed against it by the Committee on Student Organizations.
Q: How much do fraternities and sororities cost?
A: Our Interfraternity Council fraternities, Multicultural and National Panhellenic Council (Historically African American) fraternities and sororities can cost $200 to $500 per semester.
Our Panhellenic Association Sororities cost around $500 to $1200 per semester.
Many of the chapters’ dues go down for upperclassmen or students who have been in the chapter a number of years.
Many of the Interfraternity Council Fraternities and Panhellenic Association Sororities also own chapter homes, students tend to live in them the year after they become a member. These room and board costs are comparable to living in a residence hall.
Most chapters have their dues set-up on a payment plan, so it is broken down into smaller monthly increments.
Q: If my student is having difficulties getting involved, who can my student speak with for assistance?
- Organization Development Consultant (Center for Leadership & Involvement)
- House Fellow (University Housing)
- Transfer Ambassador (Center for First Year Experience )
Q: What are care packages and how can I send them to my student?
A. The UW-Madison Division of Student Life and SendACarePackage.com are very excited to announce our new partnership! SendAcarePackage.com provides fun themed care packages that are filled with student-approved snacks, meals, and useful items they can actually use. Each order allows you to add a personalized message from home to let them know you’re thinking of them. This program allows you to pre-order care packages up to a year in advance so you don’t miss those special dates such as holidays, exams, birthdays, or just a special surprise to help them through the school year. A portion of the sales from each care package is returned to the Division of Student Life to help fund important student events and programs. SendACarePackage.com also donates a portion of their sales to AFSP – The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, which helps to provide programs and resources for survivors and people at risk.
*Based on UW-Madison’s 2012 NASPA Consortium Campus Activity Student Survey Data.