With 18,154 students enrolled at UAA, making friends seems like it should be a breeze. But with only 8,000 full-time students, less than 1,000 living in campus housing and a reputation as a classic commuter school, sometimes it can feel a little lonely.
“In general classes, it’s hard to make friends,” Kaeli Meno, double-major in history and English, said. “We have such a large, spread out campus and a lot of times, if you see a person one time you might not see them again. Exposure in class isn’t really enough to make lasting friendships.”
Sierra Baker, a freshman living in East Hall agreed.
“I feel like it’s a lot harder in classes because it’s not really the right situation to socialize, you can really only introduce yourself.”
For many people, making friends can feel daunting or awkward, and getting out to socialize might feel like a drag during the frigid winter months. So what are the best option for students to get a more typical “college experience” at UAA? Getting out and joining a club or sport, or grabbing a friend and checking out activities put on by the school.
“There are these small-knit communities that if you immerse yourself into them, you get to know more about the people within it. With Honor’s College and Debate Team, I’ve met people through that,” said Meno. “I think ultimately students have to find clubs and things that they’re interested in to find like-minded people.”
Kyle Simmons, President of Tau Kappa Epsilon (TKE) and the starter of the Power Lifting and Meditation Club said that being part of Greek Life is a very effective way to find a community at UAA.
“I can’t walk from one side of campus to the other without seeing multiple people that I know. You have a lot of opportunities through Greek life to get involved in clubs or organizations on campus, and there’s always something going on,” said Simmons, a mechanical engineering major. “If I wasn’t involved in Greek life, I wouldn’t have had the ability to experience a lot of the opportunities I’ve had. Greek life might feel a little intimidating, but at the end of the day it’s been the best decision I’ve made at UAA.”
At the Student Involvement Fair on Feb. 3 all the fraternities and sororities and many clubs and organizations on campus had tables in the Student Union. Students got a chance to see the communities that are part of UAA which is crucial to finding a “family” in college. Attending events at UAA is a stress-free, casual way to see what’s happening with the student body.
“A lot of the events like Speed Friending and events like that, and joining sororities, I’ve heard that those are good ways to make friends,” said Baker. “In my hall, the RA’s are usually really good about getting us all involved together. They do movie nights, and I remember last semester they had a Christmas party in the lounge. One time our entire hall went to a movie at the theater together and stuff like that is really fun. I’ve gone to a few Chi Alpha [Student Ministers] things and I tried out a Wilderness/Survival Club. I definitely need to go out and get myself a little black dress to attend that event [Little Black Dress Doesn’t Mean Yes]. Me and my group of friends are all interested in that kind of stuff.”
The school is hosting Dan Savage’s “Savage Love Live”, the ClayBody Ceramic Invitational, Spoken Word Tuesdays, Meditation Wellness Club & Expressive Arts Club, Mafia Mondays for Residence students and Sexy Jeopardy all within the next few weeks.
For more information about events happening on campus visit: https://www.uaa.alaska.edu/sll/calendar/index.cfm