See what Maya from Engineers for a Sustainable World (ESW) has to say about joining student orgs.
Q: How many orgs should you join as an engineer? What is a common amount to join?
A: It really depends on what you are looking for in your college experience! My personal rule of thumb for orgs is having one professional development and/or technical org and one social org. This has allowed me to gain valuable experience in my field while also spending time in a stress-free environment where I can turn off my brain for a bit and just chill with friends. Most of the people I know follow a similar strategy and are involved in 1 or 2 orgs on campus. I just want to note that you don’t HAVE to join an org. If you are already super busy with classes, work, research, or existence, you are not required to join a student org! There are other ways you can market yourself. If you are interested and have the time and energy to join an org, but don’t know where to start, then read on :)
What are you looking for in an org?
If you are looking at orgs as a way to meet new people, then join as many as you want. Going to org meetings is a great way to branch out socially and connect with others in a new environment. Most orgs don’t require dues when you first attend a meeting, so take that time to test the waters and see if you vibe with the members and their mission. If this is something that you are interested in, consider orgs that are targeted towards specific interests. UT is a very large campus, so being able to relate to or have shared experiences with others is a good way to feel less lonely. This is the initial reason I joined Engineers for a Sustainable World. The members genuinely cared about sustainability and were so easy to talk to that I immediately felt comfortable. If you can relax and be yourself in an org, then it’s probably a good fit.
If you are looking at orgs focused on volunteering, technical projects, or similar action or goal-based initiatives, I would recommend choosing one organization to join and focus on. These types of orgs often require a lot of time, energy, and dedication from their members, so you may end up with less free time than expected.
If your main focus in joining an org is gaining leadership experience or professional development, I would also recommend choosing one org as midterms and busy times for orgs overlap when you least expect them to, so you don’t want to spread yourself too thin.
On Engineering Orgs
Being an engineering student is incredibly challenging and getting involved is highly encouraged, but there is one thing I want to emphasize: you don’t have to stick with orgs within the engineering school. Engineering orgs are great as they provide marketable skills that make the UT engineering experience unique from any other, but I would highly, highly recommend that you join an org that sounds interesting to you even if it isn’t related to your major or engineering. School is stressful and if you are constantly surrounded by other stressed individuals, it makes the college experience all the more difficult. Give yourself a space to unwind and focus on something other than engineering. UT is a huge school with diverse and unique opportunities and you should really take advantage of that and explore everything that it has to offer.
You can find ESW on social media here!
Facebook Group: Engineers for a Sustainable World at UT Austin (ESW-UT)
Engineers for a Sustainable World is an organization from a variety of majors and backgrounds that focuses on engineering as a means for environmental, social, and economic sustainability. ESW is a great organization for those interested in careers, outreach, technical projects, or simply a community centered on sustainability.
This blog post was written by Maya Treviño, an environmental engineering junior and Vice President of External for Engineers for a Sustainable World.