Extra activities spice college life

Being involved in a club or organization isn’t just a way to have fun.

It’s a way to put your education to work, said Jonathan Ng, Leawood senior and student body president at Kansas University.

Ng (pronounced “Ung”) said two-thirds of his education has come from outside the classroom.

“A lot of what you learn in class is a foundation, but in order to apply it you have to do that through extracurricular activities,” he said.

And Ng should know.

Here are some of his accomplishments in addition to being student body president:

l Co-founded the Pre-Journalism Club.

l Co-founded Pi Kappa Phi fraternity.

l Served as readers’ representative for the University Daily Kansan.

l Served on Student Senate committees as an underclassman.

Ng said he chose to participate in so many activities because of the personal relationships he’s made and his experiences.

“Anything that you might feel comfortable doing, it’s the time to start doing that,” he said. “College is a lot about experimenting you have that leeway to make mistakes and find your niche.”

Richard Gintowt found his niche at student radio station KJHK-FM 90.7, where he worked on the promotions staff during his first semester.

The next semester, he became a DJ. By spring 2002, the Palatine, Ill., junior was music director at the station.

To get his start, he served as a DJ from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. once a week, and then in the 2 a.m. to 4 a.m. slot.

“It was not a problem at all for awhile, just because it was balanced by the excitement of having a radio show,” he said. “After that it became more of a chore but I still enjoyed the walk to and from the dorms and being out when no one else was.”

KJHK has about 40 music DJs, and about 60 more people who work on promotions, advertising, news and the business side of the station. Most work on a volunteer or for-credit basis, though some leadership positions are paid.

Gintowt, a journalism major, said the station offered great experience for students majoring in business, advertising and broadcast journalism or for those interested in music.

“I just wanted to have a radio show, that was the initial appeal,” he said. “Now it’s more along the line of it opening up opportunities for me. There’s something to be said for the connections you make with people.”

This summer, Gintowt put those connections to work to secure an internship with the Topeka-based Web site rockkansas.com.

“You just have to decide what you want to get out of it and go from there,” he said.

Intramural and sports clubs are another popular way to get involved and meet people at Kansas University.

Intramural teams compete within the university and typically are formed around living organizations, such as dorm floors or fraternities, or are made up of groups of friends.

Sports clubs are generally more competitive, and some travel across the country representing KU.

Jessie Bird, a junior from Olathe, was president of the Lacrosse Club and competes on the team.

“I just picked it up when I came to college,” she said. “We have people that played in high school and people that picked it up here.”

Many clubs travel across the country to compete but some, like fencing, are more instructional, said Bird, who also works at Recreation Services in the Robinson Center.

“It’s a great way to get involved, have fun and meet a lot of people,” she said.