Four Reasons to Join Student Leadership
Published: April 30, 2023 by Hannah Nguyen
There are ten student groups offered at
the iSchool that offer a wide range of benefits to enrich
your educational experience. Several of these groups are
associated with larger professional associations (such as
and others have been created at the iSchool as a reflection of
student interests. You may be familiar with many of them from
emails advertising free panels, student mixers, or webinars. If
you have ever considered joining student leadership in one of
these groups, many of them are actively recruiting for the
upcoming academic year. Here’s why you should consider nominating
yourself to be a student leader:
Boost Your Resume
Becoming a student leader looks great on your resume and can also help you gain experience to round out your skills. Some of the positions in student groups include leadership roles (like President or Chair), marketing roles (like Blog Editor or Social Media Coordinator), or specialized roles (like Webmaster or Treasurer). Joining a student group also showcases some of your professional interests to potential employers. For example, joining REFORMA would show that you are committed to serving Spanish-speaking communities, or joining the Library Advocacy group would show that you are dedicated to defending and supporting libraries. By joining VCARA, you can highlight that you are forward-thinking and innovative.
Improve Networking Skills
Beyond simply boosting your resume, you will also have a chance to get to know other students, faculty, and professionals with shared interests and passions. Most graduate students are busy with school, work, family, or personal commitments, making it difficult to make friends and connections. This can especially be true in a 100% virtual program. For this past year, I have acted as Social Media Coordinator for the iSchool’s UX Student Group, which has involved a monthly meeting, planning for four events, and creating graphics to share with followers. This has been a great experience for me because it has provided opportunities to collaborate with other students, connect with faculty, and learn from some amazing UX professionals. It is definitely worth getting outside your comfort zone so that when you graduate, you will have formed a network to potentially support and exchange ideas with.
Create Evidence for E-Portfolio
A huge benefit that isn’t talked about enough is that contributing to a student group can help you create evidence for your e-portfolio. Remember that evidence does not need to be from a class, but can also include work from jobs, volunteering, or even conferences you attend. I ended up using several of my contributions to the student group in my e-portfolio. Comp M, for example, is all about demonstrating professional leadership and communication, and you could see how even the act of taking a leadership position would be evidence of those skills.
Gain Relevant Experience
You may also be interested in gaining experience directly related to the field you are going into, or transferable skills to help you meet your goals. For example, if you are interested in working in research or academia, you may get started with the peer-review and publishing process by joining the Student Research Journal. Here is what Laura Garand, chair of the First Generation Student Group had to say about developing skills that improved her professional impact: “I’ve had a really great experience as Chair of the FGSG! I’ve loved getting to know the amazing ladies currently on the leadership team, and I’ve realized that delegation is an important part of leading. I’ve become more confident in my decision-making and became a lot more comfortable in an online group setting through hosting our monthly coffee and chat meetings. I’ve also found most of these things have translated into my work life and made me more comfortable in client interactions! Our team will have openings at the end of the Spring term for a Secretary and a Blog Editor! Please reach out if you’re interested in becoming part of our team!”
If you’ve been on-the-fence, consider this encouragement to reach out to a student group about leadership openings!
Two More Things…
Here are a few job opportunities on Handshake that might be of interest!
- Library Specialist – Communication – Urbana, IL
- Library Specialist – Conservation – New Orleans, LO
- Principal Librarian – Los Angeles, CA
Remember that internships can be an especially valuable part of your learning experience at the iSchool while also helping you when it comes time to look for jobs. Learn more about the iSchool’s internship program here, where you can check out the INFO 294 Student Handbook as well as the Internship Sites database.