Finding friends, a sense of community on campus

It’s not always easy to find a sense of community or make friends on campus. Fraternities and sororities, cultural groups, academic organizations and other student organizations can help students feel integrated and more comfortable.

That’s why UIC Campus Programs held its annual Winter Involvement Fair Jan. 13 to 16 in Student Center East. The fair gives students a chance to connect with organizations and student service departments.

“It’s a chance for us to gain new members,” said Yanira Otero, a senior in Italian and urban and public affairs who’s a member of Delta Psi Alpha. “We’re always looking for new people.”

Delta Psi Alpha is a multicultural co-ed fraternity at UIC. Emily Espin, a sophomore in political science, found new friends and felt more comfortable at UIC after joining the fraternity last year.

“I commute to school and I just felt kind of lost being new here,” she said. “I wanted to be a part of something.”

Mario Cervantes joined a fraternity his sophomore year. He’s now president of Sigma Lambda Beta.

“Before I joined the fraternity, I would just go to class, leave, go to work, go home and that’s it,” said Cervantes, a senior in industrial engineering. “Now, I’m a lot more involved. I have a job on campus, I do community service with my brothers and I have a lot more friends. I’m just happier.”

The Secular Student Society made its first appearance at the Involvement Fair this semester.

“Our goal is to create a community for students lacking religious affiliation,” said Matthew Von Moss, a junior in civil engineering, and founder and president of the group. “We’re forming a community of people that discuss world views rationally without dogma or propaganda.”