News

OSA Challenges Students to Socialize for Prizes

As a freshman, Richard Mejia never participated in student life on campus. For two years he attended class then commuted straight home. Then in his junior year, he decided to attend a panel for accounting majors like him.

“When I got out of there I’m like, ‘Wow I learned so much in so little time,’ right? And I got to meet some people,” said Mejia, a senior at Hunter. “And it feels good, you have this sort of rush of energy, a little bit of this sentiment of inspiration. Just talking to people about similar interests really fires you up.”

Mejia’s story reflects many students’ struggle to engage with a city campus like Hunter College. An overwhelming majority of the college’s 17,000 undergraduate students live off-campus, according to a 2018 report by Hunter’s Office of Institutional Research. To build student life, the Office of Student Activities, or OSA, is hosting “30 in 30.” “30 in 30” challenges students to attend as many of the events on OSA’s website as possible to redeem prizes. OSA hopes to incentivize students to learn about what Hunter can offer them outside of class.

“It is our aim to keep students engaged and informed,” said Assistant Director of Student Activities and Leadership Development Teneia Wooten.

A girl holds a
Students line up for a USG event holding “30 in 30” stamp cards.
Photo by Melissa Lent

Students can receive a stamp card at OSA, USG or “30 in 30” events to record attendance. The office said it already sees a positive impact. It gave out more than 800 cards, and Wooten said some students have passed the 10-event mark. This year’s annual picnic saw a 33 percent increase in student attendance from 2018, although this growth cannot be directly attributed to “30 in 30.”

 

“Student life is, to be honest, kind of dead,” said Nibras Ahmed, a pre-med junior majoring in economics.

 

Students hold varying feelings about the initiative. Amy Jiang, a senior studying optometry, said “30 in 30” will encourage people to socialize. As a freshman, she struggled to find friends with similar interests amidst a sea of pre-med students in her courses. She said many friendships that begin in class fizzle out after the semester ends.

“Because the next semester a lot of students are taking different classes and it’s sort of hard to reconnect,” said Jiang. “So you sort of lose that relationship for the six months that you had.” She attended the study abroad fair, a “30 in 30” event, and met students interested in traveling to the same countries as her.

A USG representative fills a student's taco bowl during
A student builds a burrito bowl during Taco Tuesday.
Photo by Melissa Lent

However, Nibras Ahmed said that while “30 in 30” is a valiant effort, Hunter can improve further. He said many peers have different schedules or work part-time. Ahmed suggests hosting more events outside of dean’s hours may help.

“Student life is, to be honest, kind of dead,” said Ahmed, a pre-med junior majoring in economics. “I know you can’t organize 50 different events, but at least making an active effort to kind of diversify the kinds of events, and the time and duration of the events as well.”

According to OSA, its commitment to increasing student participation will not end with “30 in 30.” The office plans to continue its Student Leadership Colloquium, a series of leadership seminars, and Hunter Has Heart, a social justice program, to interest students.

In addition, USG, another office that serves the student body, also has engagement plans in the works. Cultural Affairs Commissioner Alexia Morrison, a junior studying human biology and psychology, said she will be working on a mental and sexual health awareness week this semester. She said starting fresh as a new student is not easy.

“If I could be a catalyst for making friends or encourage somebody to come out and do something new and, you know, take a leap. Because I had to take this leap,” said Morrison, a transfer student from Washington, D.C.. “I think social events are important in a school like this that is so separated.”

A collage, with the top showing USG representatives giving out snacks and pads, and the bottom a close up of the pads in pink packages.
USG distributes snacks and menstrual products as part of the Purple PEERiod Project.

Taking advantage of activities has definitely worked for Mejia. Talking to him now, seeing him as a shy freshman seems impossible. As a publicity assistant for Career Development Services, his job is to walk up to random students, start a conversation with them and convince them to attend his office’s events. He said the more events students attend, the more confident they will feel in themselves.

“30 in 30” will end on October 15. Until October 30, students who collected 10, 15, 20 or 30 stamps can redeem prizes at OSA, in room 202 of Thomas Hunter Hall.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*