Fit in with an organization

The Committee on Student Organizations (COSO) is designed to do one thing: get students involved. If there is a club that exists on campus, it falls under the umbrella of COSO.

“COSO is the Student Government of student organizations,” said Jaife Calil, the new president of COSO for the 2009-10 school year. “We overview every club and approve new clubs and hold workshops for things like sponsorship, leadership.”

From salsa dancing to Random Acts of Kindness, there seems to be a club that will satisfy all students. However, if there is a club that you want that doesn’t exist, it couldn’t be easier to start a new one.

“We had 20 new organizations approved in this school year,” Calil said.

Students only need to submit a proposal as well as a constitution that states the ideals and goals for the club to the COSO offices on the second floor of the University Center.

If you don’t want to start your own club, but are just looking to get involved, COSO hosts two events, one per semester, which showcase student organizations and allows students to see all of the options that they have. These events – Canefest in the fall and the Spring Involvement Fair – give members a chance to pass out information about their clubs and allow interested students to sign up for the club.

“I think these events are great,” last year’s Vice President of COSO Amar Mandalia said. “It shows the variety of organizations on campus and really highlights student involvement.”

Canefest, a bigger version of the Spring Involvement Fair, is held annually on the floor of the BankUnited Center. During this event, sponsors give away pizza, drinks and t-shirts, and the University of Miami cheerleaders and dance teams take the stage to perform.

“Canefest is a great way to get freshman and transfer students to see what’s going on on campus,” Calil said. “It’s also a really good way to network.”

The event is intended for new students, but is so popular that students from all grades attend.

“Going in as a freshman, it was really beneficial just because it gave you a feel of what you could join and the opportunities you had at UM,” junior Heather Gaines said. “I went to Canefest and joined the Young Democrats because I wanted to get involved in the election, and they provided an opportunity for that.”

These events are great ways for incoming students who may be overwhelmed by everything thrown their way, but still want to get involved.

“These organizations are designed to showcase whatever you could want,” Mandalia said. “It adds to the UM experience.”