When undergraduate Cat Archer came to CU Boulder, she knew that finding activities she could be passionate about would be as important in college as it had been in high school. Coming from out of state, Archer also knew she needed to take time to get settled and feel confident in her new location so she wouldn’t feel overwhelmed.
Rather than joining an organization or trying a new activity right away, Archer, from Davis, California, decided to focus on making friends first in order to find her place on campus during her first semester.
Now a senior in environmental studies with minors in geography, business and biology, Archer is confident that was best decision for her.
“Coming from out of state was a big change,” she said. “I’d lived in the same house and the same hometown my whole life. I had a great first year, but it was definitely stressful for me at times. I didn’t think I was a leader, but after I got involved in my own way, I realized I could do well in anything.”
In high school, Archer was active with student government, sports and numerous group activities. By the start of spring semester her freshman year, she missed being involved in group activities. That’s when she knew she was ready to branch out. Archer found the answer of where to start at the Center for Student Involvement (CSI). She joined the CSI advisory board where she learned about the many possibilities available and is now the chair of the advisory board.
CSI is a service department of CU Boulder’s student government in the Division of Student Affairs. It connects students with experiences that promote their success and personal growth, as well as a vibrant campus community. The more than 450 organizations range from art and social justice to environmental protection and athletic competition.
Archer joined other clubs, including the Delta Gamma sorority, which she said made CU feel more like home. In the process, she discovered she was stronger than she realized.
“In high school, I loved being involved in student groups and working toward a larger goal,” she said. “It was good I waited a semester, because I didn’t want to get overwhelmed. By spring I was ready to get involved again.”
Archer’s advice to students is to get involved at their own pace. To learn what’s available, she suggests checking out the CSI website and attending the Be Involved Fair, which will be held 2 to 6 p.m., Aug. 30 on Norlin Quad. The annual fair showcases opportunities for students to get involved on and off campus.
Archer’s long-term goal is to pursue a career in wildlife conservation and help protect natural habitats and open spaces.
“Freshman year can get a little crazy, so don’t feel like you have to get involved right away,” she said. “It can be hard to get started at first, but once you take that first step and get involved in something, you’ll hear about more opportunities and it snowballs from there. Be yourself, pursue what you enjoy and you’ll definitely find your place. That’s how you build a community on campus.”