If you’re the type of person to have tons of free time for activities, look into extracurriculars! Extracurricular activities are activities that help you develop your talents, interests, and passions. They can also teach you practical skills like time management. Most importantly, extracurriculars give you the freedom to do what you love whether it’s student government or a religious group that give a lot to the community, extracurricular activities impact our school. Here are five of the most popular extracurricular activities you should look into:
1. Marching Band
The UMass marching band was established in 1863 when the university was known as Massachusetts Agricultural College. The band was called “The Morris Drum Corps” which was the first resemblance to a marching band at the school, and it was directed by First Lieutenant Charles Morris of the fifth Army Artillery. Now, the marching band is led by director Timothy Todd Anderson, associate director, percussion instructor Thomas P. Hannum, assistant director and visual coordinator Christine Sirard. From performing at the Macy’s Parade in 2013 to the Rose Parade for New Years for 2018, this band has come a long way.
2. SGA (Student Government Association)
The SGA is a student-run group where students who want to be a part of the government have to run for office. Just like our government today, there’s a president, vice president, secretary, treasurer, Senate, House of representatives, and etc. The executive branch creates laws for UMass and they created their own constitution just like the one we have for America. Something that recently happened was the Student Union referendum passing on December 8th, 1246-1012. This meant that they would stop all building updates to the Student Union so that way none of the students at UMass would have to pay an extra $1000 on top of their tuition. If you’re into changing the rules and politics, join SGA.
3. Sport Teams
From trying out for any sports team to intramural, UMass has more than enough teams for you to participate in! Our varsity athletes compete in Division I, (football is in Division 1A) the NCAA’s highest level of intercollegiate athletic competition, and in the prestigious Atlantic 10 Conference. This year, our football team went to Fenway Park in Boston, MA for the Fenway Gridiron Series to play against UMaine, 44-31. For intramural, we have volleyball, flag football, broomball, and even badminton. You can try out for any sport that may seem of interest to you. And as a bonus for being a UMass student, all home games are free just by showing your ucard by the entrance.
There are three different types of orchestras at UMass such as UMASO, Opus One and All University Orchestra. UMASO (University of Massachusetts Symphony Orchestra) is directed by Morihiko Nakahara and getting in is tougher than the other two ensembles because it’s a very competitive group. The repertoire emphasizes canonic works for orchestra from the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries. The students are required to practice in preparation for rehearsals, performances, and sectionals. All University is also conducted by Morihiko but it’s easier to get in, and recommended for students who didn’t get into UMASO or aren’t ready for UMASO. Opus One is a string ensemble coached by Elizabeth Chang who is the violin professor here at UMass. There is no conductor since they focus on collaborating when it comes to music making. They’re actively involved in various community efforts in the greater Massachusetts area, including the annual String Day event for musicians of all ages in the Pioneer Valley. You have to audition for all these ensembles with a piece of your own and if you’re looking into UMASO, make sure to learn the excerpts!
5. Cultural Groups
There are 31 different clubs for particular cultures and countries at UMass. These clubs represent the diversity of the school, and it’s a great way to meet other students who could be from your country or learn more about their culture. Note, you don’t have to have the background to be in whatever club. If you’re into AASA (Asian American Student Association), join even if you’re not Asian! People are always welcoming when it comes to cultural groups since the main thing they want students to learn is about each other and creating a bigger diverse community at UMass.
If there’s one thing to do during your free time, it should be a noncollegiate activity. As a college student doing extracurricular activities, this can be on your resume to show people what you like doing because it matters that you work for a job that you love doing. Making money by doing what you love? Say thanks to extracurricular activities at UMass, you’ll surely have the best time participating and hope you consider one of these five or others!