Student organizations decline in numbers due to pandemic

YSU Student organizations have a hard time maintaining student numbers and recruiting more members, Photo by Elizabeth Coss / Jambar contributor

By Elizabeth Coss

Youngstown State University has a variety of organizations for students to join. However, the number of groups at YSU has decreased since the start of the pandemic and many have struggled to stay afloat and maintain members, causing minority organizations to fade away.

Contrary to YSU’s website, which states that there are 13 Cultural Student Organizations, there are only six actively registered with Student Activities. Two more clubs are reportedly in the process of registering. 

Brenda Scott, coordinator of transitioning and mentoring programs at the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, said there is a desire for people to become involved again. 

“I think people want to get more involved socially because they haven’t been around people for so long, and also just trying to find a sense of belonging on our campus,” Scott said. “Whether it’s a marginalized student, underrepresented student of color — they just want to find that representation that they can go to, to feel comfortable.”

Scott also said that in terms of representative groups, the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion feels the lack of presence for the LGBTQ community at YSU. 

When classes shifted online, organizations struggled to find new recruits and hold a set amount of members.

Organizations are key to keeping students feeling represented properly in the community. Clubs, organizations and groups are established through YSU’s Student Activities. 

Caleb Queen, coordinator of student involvement, helps register student organizations to be recognized by the university in order to found a group.  

“Baseline requirements are five members, a constitution, a 2.0 GPA for all officers and then a full-time advisor or a part-time advisor who is co-advising with the full-time,” said Queen. 

Organizations struggling to maintain members are encouraged to host events and recruit as much as possible by creating social media accounts and keeping up a presence on campus. 

“As long as you are recognized on campus, you can host an event,” Queen said. “If you are not currently recognized but you’re trying to recruit, and things like that, the Office of Student Activities can sponsor up to three events for you so that you can get back on your feet and get the amount of members you need to be recognized.”

Some of the most prominent student organizations on campus are groups that promote inclusivity. The International Student Organization is one of the most involved. It hosts cultural events throughout the year and provides a home for students from near and far. 

Bishal Lamichhane is the president of the International Student Organization and said the organization is open to anyone on campus who is interested in learning about different cultures. 

“We don’t have any fixed requirements, I would say just be open to different cultures and be open to making new friends from different backgrounds,” Lamichhane said.

In regards to students who are unsure about joining an organization, Lamichhane said, “You have to start somewhere, whether [it’s] ISO or any other student organization.”