Extracurricular extravaganza

As the new year begins, students have the chance to join more than 110 clubs


SILENT NIGHT — The ASL Club holds silent dinners and worship throughout the year. Photo Credit: Michela Diddle

SILENT NIGHT — The ASL Club holds silent dinners and worship throughout the year. Photo Credit: Michela Diddle

With new classes, workloads and professors, the start of the semester can seem overwhelming to both new and experienced students.

The thought of adding one more commitment to the seemingly endless flood of work can feel overwhelming, but—according to Director of Clubs Kyler Thomas—joining a club may actually help.

“In my personal life, I’ve found that when I’m busier, and I have more things on my schedule each day, I tend to work harder in the little bit of time that I have,” Thomas said.

In fact, studies Liberty conducts every year indicate that students involved in clubs tend to have higher GPAs, higher retention rates and increased friendships, according to Thomas, who indicated that some of the results could be causal, not just correlative.

According to Thomas, Liberty hosts more than 110 student-run clubs, and recently added more than 15 new clubs at the end of last semester, including improv comedy, social work, scuba diving and chess clubs.

For students looking to join a club for the first time, Thomas recommended the Liberty University Biology Club as a fun way to meet people from diverse majors.

“I mean, I’m not a biology major, but the Biology Club is one of the most active clubs on campus,” Thomas said. “They go hiking once or twice a month, and it’s just kind of like a nature appreciation club. They’re really good at getting students involved.”

He also recommended the Young Americans for Freedom club.

“They bring in some of the top political speakers and anyone interested in politics or Screen Shot 2017-01-24 at 4.48.59 PMbusiness would enjoy going to that because it’s a whole pool of connections,” Thomas said.

Another easy-to-join club is Lifeline, a pro-life club that welcomes students with little time to offer and no background experience, according to Lifeline President Annie Piper.

“(Students) can come to prayer meetings if they want, however often they want,” Piper said. “They can go sidewalk counseling however often they want, they can go once a semester, they can go twice a semester—whatever they want to do.”


Despite minimal requirements, Lifeline gives students the opportunity to go out, save lives and share the gospel, according to Piper.

“We go sidewalk counseling (in) Roanoke once a week, and we stand outside of Planned Parenthood and we talk to women,” Piper said. “The students in our club have been able to see women come out and turn around and not get abortions and (also see) clinic workers leave.”

Lifeline provides sidewalk counseling training which informs students of their legal rights, teaches them what to do and say and prepares them spiritually and emotionally, Piper said.

In addition to other events throughout the year, Lifeline participates in the March for Life, an annual pro-life demonstration in Washington, D.C.

Students looking to join or learn more information about Lifeline can email lsl@liberty.edu.

Also looking to make a difference is the Engineering Missions and Research Club, founded and led by president Kyle Ceffaratti.

“This club ideally is a group to gather minds, all who believe that God can use their engineering talents, and allow them to work together and actually be used even at their freshman engineering level,” Ceffaratti said.

Current design and research projects include harnessing drones to bring disaster relief items to blocked-off areas, developing a water purification system that does not require computerized technology, and designing disaster-relief housing that would allow victims enough time to get back on their feet.

The club’s ultimate goal is to create a well-developed project through research and prototyping that could become part of a senior capstone project carried out overseas through an LU Send trip, Ceffaratti said.

However, much research remains before the goal could be officially approved by Liberty.

In spite of its technical focus, the Engineering Missions and Research Club welcomes all students — engineers or non-engineers, Ceffaratti said.

“Ideas are huge,” Ceffaratti said. “You don’t have to know how to implement the ideas, but if you just have ideas or you have dreams of what could happen, then a lot of different perspectives are going to help reach that goal a whole lot quicker than five people sharing just one perspective.”

Interested students can contact Ceffaratti at kmceffaratti@liberty.edu or message www.facebook.com/LibertyEMRC.

Another club opportunity that is open to students is Enactus, a multi-chapter club that aims to teach business principles.

Students from all disciplines are also invited to Liberty’s chapter of Enactus, according to Dr. George Young, faculty advisor for the club and associate professor in the school
of business.

“Enactus is sponsored by the 50 largest corporations in the world … and then all the different chapters go about and try to start new businesses that really have a heart for the world,” Young said.

One of the club’s current projects is developing a high-end coffee company called BrewVita, designed with Enactus’s goal of sustainability and corporate social responsibility in mind.

Part of its vision is to eventually provide microloans to their coffee growers in other countries, Young said.

However, the company will not launch until it receives approval from Liberty administration.

While working to benefit society, students can also enhance their professional development through Enactus, according to Young.

“Employers in 2017 are looking for students that not only have a good GPA and a good work ethic, but they’re looking for future employees that work on projects other than their GPA,” Young said. “In the school of business, it’s almost non-negotiable that you have to participate in student organizations.”

To request information about or to join Enactus, students can email Young at gyoung@liberty.edu.

Thomas advised students to not let a heavy course load hold them back from joining a club.

“Even if you can’t attend every meeting, you can still attend some of them, and it’s just a great way to have fun and meet people who are interested in the same things you are,” Thomas said.

Students can access a full list of Liberty’s clubs via Liberty’s Student Government Association at http://www.liberty.edu/studentaffairs/sga/.

PORS is a feature reporter.

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