With the start of a new school year, many students are looking to create friendships and find their “fit” on campus by getting involved in new groups. 

Fortunately, Ball State offers over 400 organizations students can join to get involved. 

What students may not realize is that engaging in co-curricular activities actually improves their success while also helping them socially, according to Jim Hague, director of student life. 

“We are focused on our students and creating opportunities for their engagement related to leadership, service and co-curricular experiences,” Hague said. “Students who get involved in student organizations find connections with peers and develop community.”

With the idea of fostering connections in mind, here are six new clubs created last year at Ball State. 

1. Cardinal Cardboard 

Cardinal Cardboard is an organization on campus that caters specifically to people’s competitive side through board and card games.  

The club was created after the co-founder, Chris Hatfield, and their friends noticed that game nights happened across campus all the time, but there was not a club devoted to playing games on a regular basis. 

“Nothing brings people closer, faster than a good game,” said Jerod Hartwell, treasurer of Cardinal Cardboard. “It’s also a great way to make friends and meet new people. Anyone is welcome so long as they are ready to have a good time.”

Cardinal Cardboard welcomes everyone from students to staff and meets Friday evenings from 6 to 9 p.m. in Robert Bell 106. 

2. Caring Cardinals 

Caring Cardinals is a service-focused organization that provides a meal once a month to the local homeless shelter in Muncie, Muncie Mission

Natalie Stewart, the founder of Caring Cardinals, said that the organization was created to allow people to serve without the lengthy time commitment. 

Stewart also added that beyond helping the community, club members also gain great friendships during the time they spend together cooking. 

“All are welcome to join Caring Cardinals,” Stewart said. “If you’re looking for an organization to be a part of that serves but doesn’t take up a lot of your time, then our organization is perfect for you. We’re ready to make a name for ourselves and grow our organization so that we can reach out and help more people.” 

3. Chinese Student Christian Fellowship (CSCF)

Yufeng Xue, president of the Chinese Student Christian Fellowship (CSCF), said the fellowship is an opportunity for students not only to learn about the gospel, but also to share thoughts with people of different backgrounds. 

“CSCF was created to provide distinctive opportunities for student learning, develop innovative experiential programs that support student academic success, wellness and personal growth, foster an inclusive, diverse, safe and accessible campus community, cultivate individual, campus, civic and global responsibility and ensure opportunities for the development of leadership skills,” Xue said. 

The main goal of CSCF is to provide a way for students to build connections through meeting fellow Christians, improving themselves and gaining spiritual growth.

CSCF has not yet decided on meeting times, but will post them on Benny Link in the future. 

4. Fine Focus

Fine Focus originally started as a Ball State class in fall 2014, but recently became a student organization as well. 

As the first international undergraduate microbiology research journal, "Fine Focus" showcases the research of undergraduates throughout the world. 

The purpose of the journal is to teach students the process of producing scientific peer reviews and show them what goes into publishing an academic journal. The journal is produced twice a year in both digital and print forms. 

“Rarely is an opportunity like this given to undergraduates,” said Betsy Kemp, a member of Fine Focus. “Fine Focus gives students the opportunity to be a part of the creation, editing and marketing of an academic journal that publishes original research by undergraduates anywhere in the world. Fine Focus is a great opportunity for students of any major. Everyone has a place at Fine Focus. 

The group will host their first organizational meeting at 8 p.m. Sept. 6 in the Cooper Life Science Building room 126 (CL 126).

5. Pre-Genetic Counseling Club

The Pre-Genetic Counseling Club is an organization that helps its members gain relevant information on topics with the field of genetic counseling, build a resume and narrow down their future goals. 

During the year, the club offers trips to visit various graduate schools and attend conferences that offer networking opportunities. 

“All are welcome, especially those considering a career in genetic counseling,” said Maggie Myrice, vice-president and co-founder of the Pre-Genetic Counseling Club. “Being a part of this club can provide you with a community of students with similar interests and passions.”

6. Student Animal Activists (SAA) 

Student Animal Activists (SAA) is a group on campus that advocates for animal and environmental rights and protections. 

“Across history, and even more recently, we see people disregarding the environment and the animals who have lived here much longer than us,” said Cat Teague, secretary for SAA. “Whether deforestation, pollution or animal abuse, this group hopes to change that. We plan on involving the community of Ball State and Muncie, but we hope many of our members will continue to spread this awareness globally.” 

SAA members already have a variety of goals planned for the club such as raising money and hosting donations for supplies for the Muncie animal shelter, taking field trips to Indiana animal sanctuaries and doing fun activities with Muncie elementary school children.

“What makes SAA different from other clubs is that we want every student to feel like a leader,” said Mariah Bowman, founder and president of SAA. “We want them to feel confident in their abilities to provide information to insightful people and to feel like they have a role in this university as a productive student. A new student can find a place in SAA to develop as a college student and to socially interact with others in an exciting way.”

Contact Justice Amick with comments at jramick@bsu.edu or on Twitter @justiceamick.