In college, students may feel alone, be homesick or think they have to stop their hobbies once they reach this level in their life. However, the University of Mississippi’s abundance of student organizations allows students to be true to themselves and find people who enjoy the same things they do.
“I think every organization that we have brings something different or unique to the table and has a group of students that really can identify with that organization. They can say that they really have found their home,” said Hal Sullivan, UM coordinator of student affairs.
Ole Miss has about 350 student organizations categorized into academic/professional, cultural/multicultural, department, fraternity and sorority, health and wellness, honorary, political, religious, service/philanthropic, special interest, sport clubs and student governance.
Starting an organization is simple as long as a student has a strong passion for whatever he or she wants to start up, Sullivan said.
“When a student’s passion comes together and others rally behind it, it becomes a really great organization,” he said.
All a student needs is two other people who want to start the organization, a faculty adviser and a constitution.
Special-interest student organizations alone comprise over 50 groups, including the Climbing Club, Ole Miss Karate Club, Ole Miss Milk and Cookies Association, Rebel Sculpture Society, UM Beekeepers, UM Gospel Choir and UM Political Review.
Another special-interest student group on campus is Rebel Irish Dancers. Tyler Caple, its president and a senior international studies major, has been doing Irish dance since she was 8 years old. Once she got to the university, she said she tried other dance organizations such as Hip-Hop Rebs, but the dancing just wasn’t the same for her.
“Before this year, when I tried to get involved with other dance organizations on campus, I learned so much fun and exciting stuff, but the material was just completely foreign to me,” she said.
Caple said she hopes Rebel Irish Dancers not only introduces students to a type of dance they may not be used to but also introduces them to Irish culture.
“I hope members who have never Irish danced before as well as people who have never even danced before learn to appreciate Irish dance,” she said. “Everyone has the potential to fall in love with this type of dance if they just keep an open mind.”
Last fall, other students felt like Caple and started an organization they could enjoy as it allowed them to dance to music familiar to them. That organization is the K-pop (Korean pop) dance club called Ole Miss Generation.
Ole Miss Generation members dance to popular K-pop songs in a variety of dance styles.
The organization started out with mainly international students, but this year it has expanded.
“We are a very diverse group,” said Delaney Mason, a junior international studies major and president of the organization. “In the beginning, there were only international students, but now we are really growing. We have people of so many races, colors and backgrounds and all different types of majors.”
To join the organization Ole Miss Rebel Writers, the only thing you need is a passion for writing and/or storytelling.
“Rebel Writers is special because it’s about individual students’ passion for something they care about,” said Malerie Lovejoy, a senior English major and president of the organization. “It’s about realizing that there are other people in your same university who have the same drive but different ideas, and sharing those ideas can be really inspiring.”
So whether you are an athlete, a poet, a dancer or just a student trying to find something to do besides classes at Ole Miss, an experience is waiting for you in at least one organization. And if there isn’t, find a couple of people who have your same passion and hobby, and start one.
For more information about student organizations at Ole Miss, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kendall Patterson is a senior journalism major and an intern in University Communications.