Even though Occidental is a small college, navigating the first few weeks here can be intimidating. With over 100 clubs and organizations on campus, there is something to choose for everyone. Joining one or more on-campus groups is a great way to keep high-school interests alive, or to try something new.
“Getting involved on campus is one of the most rewarding things someone can do while in college.” ASOC Senate President and Diplomacy and World Affairs (DWA) major Chis Weeks (junior) said via email.
The yearly club fair is a great place to meet with campus leaders and learn about all of the organizations in detail, but some try-outs and elections take place before the fair occurs on Sept. 11. Use this preview to get a sneak-peak at just a few of the activities that Occidental has to offer.
Love to Dance? Try Dance Pro
There are a number of ways to get into the groove at Occidental, and Dance Production (Dance Pro) is one that more than 250 students participate in yearly. Students ranging from novice to highly experienced come together to perform peer-choreographed dances for frequently sold-out crowds.
“I love the fact that Dance Pro allows me to get to know people I otherwise may not have gotten the chance to know outside of the classroom,” economics major and Dance Production Co-President Deon Summerville (junior) said. “The support that everyone gives each other within Dance Pro is unlike anything I’ve seen before – especially once we’re able to see the culmination of everyone’s hard work come to life on stage.”
There are multiple other ways to dance on campus. The Occidental Dance Team performs at football and basketball games as well as dance competitions and campus events. Auditions are on Aug. 27. Hyper Xpressions, a dance group that performs at sports games, events and an annual showcase in the spring, is holding auditions on Aug. 26. For those who want to learn more about dance, but are not quite ready to put themselves on stage, PULSE, a weekly hip-hop club, and Zumba Club are open to students of all levels of experience.
Dreaming of life in the Oval Office? Run for a position in ASOC
ASOC Student Senate and Honor Board are two ways students can help make an impact on important campus-wide decisions. The senate supports clubs and organizations and acts as the collective voice of the students of Occidental. Honor Board is a collection of elected jurors who hear cases of Code of Conduct and Honor Principle violations.
“I personally chose to get involved with ASOC Senate because of the potential it offered to make positive change on campus,” Weeks said. “I saw Senate as a means to learn more about the college and to find solutions to issues that students have with Occidental.”
Look out for announcements on ASOC Senate’s Facebook page to fill out petitions for candidacy in the coming weeks.
Still interested in assisting in campus-wide events in a capacity other than student government? Try applying for a position on Programming Board, the group of students who put together SpringFest, Fall Concert and other Occidental traditions.
Interested in social gatherings and philanthropy? Rush a Greek organization
Almost a quarter of the Occidental community have become members of eight (soon to be nine) chapters, ranging from national to local, single-sex or co-ed groups.
“Occidental Greek life emphasizes academic excellence, leadership development, equity, respect for diversity and philanthropy,” Greek Counsel President and biochemistry major Christian Wolfgram (senior) said. “Personally, I felt compelled to rush because I was hungry for ways to get involved in both the Oxy community and the LA community at large. The career development connections, life-long friends and lasting memories I’ve gained prove it was one of the best decisions I’ve made here at Occidental.”
While transfer students are permitted to rush during their first semester, first-year students must wait until spring rush. First-years, however, are permitted to attend pre-rush events in the fall.
Academic organizations are also available, including Phi Beta Lambda Business Chapter, and Alpha Chi Sigma chemistry fraternity.
Hoping to ward off the freshman 15? Take up a sport
Occidental has highly competitive varsity and club sports teams that compete with other colleges in the SCIAC and beyond. Many teams make it to conference playoffs, while some make it to NCAA playoffs or win national championships like the men’s rugby 7s team in 2013.
Taking on a varsity sport can seem daunting at first, but the Division III atmosphere helps make it manageable for students.
“I decided to play varsity soccer because I wanted a high level of competition while still being able to balance my academics,” biochemistry major Taryn Ng (senior) said. “Plus it gave me an immediate network of teammates and friends in a school where I knew absolutely no one.”.
Most varsity teams on campus are open to walk-on players. Email one of the coaches to ask about trying out for the team.
If varsity athletics seems like too much of a time commitment, try joining men’s club lacrosse, ultimate frisbee, rugby, cheerleading or dance.
“Coming to Oxy, I knew it was a club sport which was perfect for me knowing how rigorous the academics were going to be,” men’s lacrosse player and English and Comparative Literary Studies (ECLS) major Jake Kahane (senior) said via email,” Club meant that wasn’t that much of a commitment, I got exercise regularly, and I would probably have the chance to play instead of riding the bench.”
He also highlighted team road trips as one of his fondest Occidental memories.
Other opportunities to stay active are intramural sports, yoga club, OH! (Occidental’s hiking club) and a variety of Physical Activity (PHAC) classes which can be found in the course catalog.
Are the performing arts more appealing? Audition for a play or the Glee club
The Occidental course catalog lists a wide variety of classes in the arts and student-run clubs offer even more artistic opportunities. Students with an interest in the stage can audition for many plays throughout the year, including the New Play Festival, which allows student playwrights to bring their original work to the stage. For on-screen experience, Catalyst, the student-run television network, teaches students to produce weekly shows.
There are also plenty of singing groups on campus to get involved in. The Glee Club performs multiple concerts on campus–and around the globe–throughout the year.
“I was hesitant to join to begin with simply because it seemed like a hefty time commitment (turns out it’s totally manageable), but it ended up being the best decision I have made thus far at Oxy. The best way to get involved is simply to audition,” undeclared major and Accidentals director Sophie Gabel-Scheinbaum (sophomore) said via email. Auditions are Aug 28.
College Chorus is open to students as well as members of the Eagle Rock community, and accepts people of all skill levels. Members of College Chorus and Glee also have the opportunity to audition for the Accidentals and Cadence, the all-female and all-male a capella groups, respectively.
“Regardless of whether you are in Glee Club or College Chorus, having a community with people who love to do what you love to do is incredibly rewarding and fun,” Gabel-Scheinbaum said.
Open mic nights, such as Apollo Night, and RAW Records‘s recording studio are a few ways to get your music noticed. There are also many opportunities for DJs and bands to show their skills at concerts in Sycamore Glenn or play tunes on Occidental’s radio station, KOXY.
For those interested in playing instruments, consider auditioning for the Occidental College-Caltech Symphony, the Caltech-Occidental College Concert Band, one of the Chamber Music Ensembles or the Jazz Ensemble.
Do you have a passion for coffee and sustainability? Apply to work at the Green Bean
Whether for trivia nights, open mics or Porto’s pastries, it is hard to not make a stop at the green bean. The student managers of the Green Bean work to make it a sustainable and environmentally-conscious business.
“I love interacting with my fellow students from behind the bar and learning more about coffee. I am proud to be part of a business that is student-run and conscious about product purchasing from local sustainable sources,” Green Bean Health Safety and Sustainability Manager and kinesiology major Taylor Durham (senior) said. “I would definitely recommend working here if you love meeting new people and work well under pressure.”
Other ways to get involved in keeping the campus “green” are joining the Sustainability Fund, FEAST Garden or Bee Keeping Club. Many other groups offer student jobs on campus, such as Telefund, the Tiger Cooler and the library.
Want to get involved in the Los Angeles community? Apply to volunteer with Peer Health Exchange
Peer Health Exchange (PHE) is a group of trained volunteers across the country who teach ninth grade health classes to schools in areas without funding for a health curriculum.
“We joined PHE because it allows us to directly engage with the surrounding LA community while offering critical information to local teens. It’s also a great way to meet 90 of Oxy’s finest!,” PHE Co-Coordinators Anthony Quach (biochemistry) and Brian Erickson (economics) said via email.
Other ways to volunteer are the Community Literacy Center programs and the MLK day of service. Or, get involved in LA classrooms by applying to the Neighborhood Partnership Program (NPP). NPP works to promote post-secondary education amongst and provide assistance in classrooms close to campus.
Graphic design in your future? Apply to work at Oxy Design Service (formally known as The Occidental Agency)
The Oxy Design Service (ODS) supplies ASOC-recognized student organizations with event posters, digital announcements, logos and other designable items. Students of all skill levels are encouraged to learn with ODS.
“Before applying to be a graphic designer for ODS, I didn’t have any experience in any of the graphic design programs such as InDesign or Photoshop,” ODS designer and Urban and Environmental Policy major Rachel Young (junior) said,” Luckily, ODS holds an internship program in the fall that teaches anyone who’s interested how to use those programs.”
ODS even offers opportunities for those interested in other areas connected with graphic design.
“My personal interest in marketing, advertising and digital design is what drove me towards TOA (now ODS) at the end of my first year,” said ODS manager and history and english double major Caroline Neumann (junior). “I get the privilege of working with a group of about eight incredibly talented designers. I love being a busy bee and working with TOA/ODS has been one of the better parts of my time at Oxy. Plus it’s kind of fun to know what events will be happening before they’re advertised to the rest of the school!”
While these are just a few of the many opportunities offered to students, more will be advertised at the annual club fair on Sept. 11 in the Academic Quad.