So How Do I Get Involved?


Quote the Raven: Kimberly Peres
Psychology with a minor in Neuroscience and Mental Health

Kimberly Peres

As a fourth-year undergraduate student, I find myself wishing I had been more involved in campus life in my previous years. But it’s never too late or too early to get involved – start as soon as you can! This year with things being in-person again, I am so excited for all the new opportunities to get involved. Grades aren’t everything and getting involved in extracurriculars is a great way to build your resume, network, as well as have a lot of interesting experiences! If you are looking to get involved but don’t know how, here are a few different types of clubs you could join, as well as some helpful information.

You can find a comprehensive list of all CUSA’s clubs by visiting CUSA’s comprehensive Clubs Directory for 2022-2023. More information about all clubs mentioned in this article can be found here. Take a look at this document, write down the names and social media usernames of your favourite clubs and go join!

  1. Find a club or organization that relates to your degree or dream career path.

Finding something that relates to your degree can be a fun way to apply the skills you learn in your degree in a real-world environment. Carleton has societies that cater to pretty much every degree, from the Psychology Society of Carleton University, to the Carleton Student Engineering Society. Here, you will have opportunities to meet others in your program, interact with professors and find study buddies.

Apart from academic societies, Carleton also has some unique opportunities to apply your academic skills that are worth highlighting:

I major in Psychology and hope to pursue clinical psychology, so I was looking for opportunities to learn more about mental health as well as to learn to support others. That’s why I decided to apply to volunteer with the Wellness Centre (one of CUSA’s eight service centres) as a peer support volunteer, where I will assist and support students who require mental and emotional comfort.

  1. Find a club that affirms your identity and gives you a sense of community.

Find a club that speaks to an aspect of your identity, such as your spirituality or culture. This may be of interest to you if you are an international or exchange student. It presents an opportunity to interact with others from your background and experience your culture even when you are away from home.

  1. Pick a club or organization whose work you support or where you would like to make a meaningful contribution.

Here are some of Carleton’s clubs that do important work for our communities:

Apart from CUSA’s clubs, CUSA also has eight service centres that do important work for our community. These service centres are always looking for volunteers and would love for you to join them! I currently volunteer with the Unified Support Centre, one of CUSA’s service centres that provides on-campus food support and advocacy as well as safety related supports.

  1. Find a club that helps you stay active.

Ever wanted to pick up a new sport? Try something new with Carleton’s various sports clubs! Already play a sport? Look up your sport in the club directory and visit the team’s website, discord or social media to find out more.

Exercise doesn’t have to be drab. Carleton has many sports and fitness clubs, such as the Carleton Climbing Club, the Carleton University Kendo club, or Carleton Artistic Swimming, that present new ways to stay active whilst having loads of fun.

  1. Find a club for a hobby or activity that you enjoy.

Have fun! You don’t always have to choose extracurricular activities that look good on your resume. Allow yourself to engage in whatever activity you find enjoyable, whilst meeting new friends that share the same hobbies as you.

Here are some of Carleton’s unique clubs that I found interesting:

If none of the club activities seem like your thing, don’t worry! Take this as an opportunity to try something new. You can usually even attend a club event to see what that club is like before formally joining. Visit a club’s Instagram page or discord (links are in the CUSA clubs directory) to learn about the events they are hosting this semester.

  1. Other volunteering opportunities besides CUSA clubs exist.

This is definitely something I wish I knew before. If you want to work in a specific field such as mental health or social work, look for volunteering opportunities with various relevant organizations in Ottawa. This will give you experience highly valued by future employers whilst making a meaningful difference in our community. This year, I am volunteering with Good2Talk as a campus coordinator, bringing awareness about their mental health services to students at Carleton.

If you are considering grad school like me, you may want to email a few of your favourite professors enquiring about research assistant opportunities. I am volunteering in the PAIR lab with Dr. Cheryl Harasymchuk this semester and am excited to collaborate and learn valuable research skills.

Visit the Volunteer Ottawa website to find unique volunteering opportunities within Ottawa.

  1. There are so many events happening on campus – attend them!

One resource I think is really helpful for students is the current students’ events calendar. This is great if you are simply looking for fun or educational one-time events with no long-term commitment. Check back here every week, register for events that appeal to you, and add the event to your personal calendar so you don’t forget. Bring your friends along for more fun or use this as an opportunity to make a new friend.

Now you’re all set! Picking one of each type of club is sure to give you variety, but this is by no means necessary. At the end of the day, all that matters is that you are doing the things that you enjoy. I hope you found this useful, and I am so excited for you to start your volunteering journey.

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