At the start of the fall semester of last year, Maryville set a freshmen enrollment record. This month, Maryville passed another milestone. The campus officially has 100 organizations, compared to 22 organizations in 2004.
When Ally Crust, assistant director of student involvement, joined Maryville in 2012, she and Brian Gardner decided to set a goal. Crust said, “The goal was that I would increase student organizations by 10 percent every year, which I’ve been able to do here every year.”
This year, Crust’s goal was set to 95 student organizations, but she was surprised by Maryville students’ interests in creating their own organizations. “It took off. We had new organizations. We had great retention with all of our former organizations coming back as well,” Crust said. She added, “As of right now, we have 25 new organizations on campus.”
In the beginning of January, the number of organizations on campus had reached ’97. Crust remembers telling Gardner that they were getting close to 100. Crust said, “That same day I had two organizations register.”
One of these new organizations included Magic: The Gathering Club, led by Shyan Banankah, Junior. Banankah said “For the past year about five to 10 of us have all been talking about making a club. We always spent every other Friday playing Magic together and I just took the initiative to start the club.”
The game’s premise is simple. Banankah said, “The main objective for the most popular format, which is standard, is to get your opponent’s life points from 20 to 0.” According to Banankah, this is accomplished by using a variety of card types and strategies to attack your opponent and his cards.
This is the part of the game that Banankah enjoys the most. “I really enjoy the mechanics and by that I mean how the cards interact with each other. So I like to play things that play off each other to cause devastating damage to your opponent,” Banankah said.
Banankah is hopeful for the success of this new organization. The group is on OrgSync, and they encourage anyone to join the club.
Magic: The Gathering Club was the ninety-ninth campus organization. The one-hundredth organization at Maryville was actually a familiar one. Commuter Connection (formerly known as the Commuter Club) renewed its membership in January to become number 100. Their goal is to provide commuters with continuous opportunities to meet other people on campus. When asked about this club being the one-hundredth, Crust said, “I was kind of hoping it would be a new organization.” However, Crust stated, “I still get to look at the 25 new organizations we added.”
This plethora of organizations, according to Crust, not only helps the students in social circles, but it also helps them in the classroom. “Research shows that students who are involved with a student organization or a leadership experience, their GPAs tend to be higher,” Crust said.
When asked about the evolving Maryville experience, where student involvement was headed in the future and which clubs have become popular at Maryville, Crust said, “We are planning a time capsule so organizations can put a token or note in there and we’ll reopen it when we reach 200 organizations. As far as trends, I think the category that has had the most growth is our social awareness category.”
Regardless of trends or milestones, Maryville University is certainly a place that encourages involvement in student organizations. From the large established organizations like CAB, to the brand new ones like Magic: The Gathering Club, Maryville has offered a place for its students to always stay involved and will for many years to come.
All photos courtesy of Tyler Hulshof.