Being a student in the US means not only attending lectures and taking exams, but also being a full member of one of the fraternities. In the case of girls, such organizations are called sororities or sisterhoods. Joining such an association is not a simple task: to prove your devotion to the brotherhood, all students need to do some pretty nasty things, such as, for example, go out in the streets naked, drink sour milk or a large amount of alcohol and sometimes fight. However, even the fact that these actions do not end not well in most cases does not stop these students.
Go Down in the History
Brotherhoods have a long history in the United States. The first such group was the academic association under a name of «Fi. Beta. Kappa», formed in 1776. Since then, there are agricultural, Jewish, Asian, medical and engineering student unities. However, student fraternities should not be confused with the secret student associations. Their main difference is that the US student societies do not talk about their work: all future members undergo rigorous selection and the initiative of admission does not come from the student, but from the society. Perhaps the most popular and at the same time mysterious academic society in America is the «Skull and Bones» – a secret elite society at Yale University.
The structure of these clubs and societies is complex and branched, but in its comparative context, one can highlight the common features inherent in all student organizations that function in every American higher education institution. As such, all student associations are more often located in the separate buildings on campus. Their activities are provided through the active cooperation of various clubs led by the administration, which in turn consist of a number of student committees and councils.
What Is the Aim?
Their aim is to represent the community of the students both within the framework of a separate educational institution and on the different off-campus levels. The educational institutions also provide financial support to such clubs and management staff, pay for the student programs like concerts, parades, entertainment, events and generally implement some sort of regulation of the university government.
Structure and Types of Organizations
Every American college and university has an extensive system of student organizations and departments that cooperate and are controlled by the student government. For example, in Boston College, there are more than two hundred clubs and unities that can be divided into groups according to their functional and semantic load.
Musical, Artistic and Theatrical Clubs
They are very popular among the American students. They offer many opportunities for young boys and girls to reveal and show their talents as well as enrich the student community with the artistic evenings and theatrical performances. They have an opportunity to participate in the clubs, like the Dance Organization, Dramatics Society, The Dance Band, Contemporary Theater, etc.
These are the clubs that allow their members to participate in some special public events, plans and programs that influence the decision of the university, for instance, the Elections Committee, the Leadership Council and so on.
Honor Societies Membership
These are a number of special student organizations whose members are grouped by their academic, scientific or other interests, such as «Dobro Slovo» (studying the Slavic languages), «Psi Chi» (studying psychology), «Pi Delta Phi» (learning French).
The International Cultural Clubs
They are engaged in the dissemination of their own culture and traditions within the student community. In Boston College, this group is rather big as it contains a student organization. Among them, there are the Arab Students Association, the Armenian Club and The Ukrainian Society.
They are working to attract the students to the political activities of the community. They participate in the local, regional and national elections, organize and conduct social and political debates on campus: Americans for Informed Democracy, College Democrats, College Republicans and so on.
Pre-Professional Academic Clubs
Such unities encourage students to pursue own career development and to develop their professional skills through cooperation with employers. It is worth noting that this group is one of the largest in Boston College because it includes 48 student clubs, including the Geology Club, the Historical Society, Women in Business, Investment Club and others.
The Special Clubs
They were formed due to the emergence of certain common interests around specific problems that concern society. For instance, such issues may concern environmental protection, the standard of living, environmental problems of the planet, extraterrestrial communication, modern diseases of mankind, etc. We can name AIDS Awareness Committee, Allies, Students Taking an Interest Towards Creative Heights among such clubs.
Sports student organizations are very popular among the American students of all higher educational institutions. They gather athletes, fans and just lovers of sports, and also organize university and interuniversity sports competitions. This group is quite numerous as it unites a number of sports student clubs, for example, Cycling Club, Equestrian Club, Field Hockey Club, Golf Club, Figure Skating Club, Soccer Club and the others.
Student Active Programs
These unities are engaged in a wide range of recreational activities, such as screenings of movies and theatrical performances. One of such organizations is O’Connell House Student Union.
The publishing house and the media are a group of student organizations representing independent university publicists who create and display local TV news while working in the university media. Examples of such organizations are the clubs Now You Know, The Observer, Stylus.
They work on the spiritual and moral development of students, they organize joint prayers, joint services and are engaged in charity and public volunteer activities – Orthodox Christian Fellowship, Muslim Students Association, Buddhism Club.
Unities Serving the Public
They unite a group of academic unities main goal of which is to promote all forms of volunteer work and altruism on the local and international levels. These unities attract students to gratis work with disabled people, the elderly and other social groups that need help. For instance, among these unities there is the American Red Cross, Best Buddies, Dance Marathon, Festival of Friendship, Campus Volunteers.
In conclusion, it is worth noting that the American student organizations do not lose their popularity. Indeed, the FIJI society which was only founded back in 1848 in Jefferson College, today has more than 130 local units in the universities in the United States and Canada.