Extracurriculars across campus: Involvement and opportunity
UBRP student Cecilia Martinez presents her research to a small crowd of listeners on Jan. 25 in the ENR2 building. The University of Arizona offers plenty of research opportunities to both its undergraduate and graduate students.
Extracurriculars are one of the easiest ways to meet people and get involved on campus. Whatever your interests are, the University of Arizona’s got something for basically everyone.
Even as COVID-19 cases surge across the state, the UA is still continuing on with its research initiatives, providing both online and in-person laboratory opportunities for their undergraduate and graduate students.
With the UA ranking in the top 20 for research funds and earning more than $600 million in funding, it is evident that they continue to excel in various aspects of science.
One of the most prominent research projects related to the coronavirus looks at whether or not copper can disable the virus behind COVID-19. A team of researches has been experimenting with various copper and chemical compounds since mid-March and hope to further their research with medical professionals.
The university is also allowing undergraduate research to continue, providing many opportunities to students in such programs as Undergraduate Research Opportunities Consortium’s-PREP, AWARDSS, the Summer Research Institute, Maximizing Access to Research Careers, Minimizing Health Disparities, Biosphere 2 experiences, Research In Optics, Undergraduate Biology Research Program and many more. Each opportunity caters to specific fields of STEM, so the options are virtually endless. These opportunities each have their own initiative, application deadlines and prerequisites, which can be found online.
John Brown is a sophomore undergraduate researcher at Banner University Medical Center — Tucson. His study focuses on lead diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s and how certain compounds can prevent these occurrences from happening by interacting with various proteins that trigger the mutations within the cells.
He is accompanied by medical students and professors who are helping him understand and analyze what exactly these occurrences are.
While some laboratory experiments are held virtually, he still is “able to gain a lot of knowledge of what is happening,” Brown said in an email.
UA provides a vast array of research for people of all specialties and interests within STEM. With research catered to virtually everyone, there shouldn’t be a problem finding one that suits your desires and aspirations.
Intramural sports and the ZonaZoo
On June 29, Gov. Doug Ducey passed an executive order to close all gyms within the state of Arizona through the end of July. The UA Student Recreation Center was originally scheduled to reopen with a limited capacity on July 6 and has now been put on hold with no official reopening date. Intramural sports have been affected by this as there is no update on their return in the fall semester.
ZonaZoo, the UA’s student section, usually in the stands to cheer on Wildcat sports, has continued its efforts in working alongside the athletics department’s reentry planning team as the fall sports season approaches. No word has been given about if students will be allowed to attend sporting events in the fall, but ZonaZoo has confirmed that if Arizona athletic competitions were to be canceled, those who have purchased a ZonaZoo membership can receive one of these three options:
1. Credit: Receive a credit that can be applied to future ticket purchases.
2. Donate: Reallocate payments to a tax-deductible donation to Arizona Athletics.
3. Refund: Receive a refund.
Want to go above and beyond your academic course load and join a community of students who share your passions and interests? Chances are you’ll find just the extracurricular for you among the hundreds of Associated Students of the University of Arizona-sponsored clubs and organizations!
Students looking to join a club can browse the over 600 clubs registered with ASUA.
“Extracurriculars are a great way to make friends who have similar interests to you,” said Olivia Rye, president of the UA Disney Club, in an email. “It also helps create a scheduled time in the week to push yourself to meet new people outside of your classes or dorm with a bunch of other people who are doing the same thing!”
However, new measures being taken by the UA to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 on campus will likely throw a wrench into club operations.
“In general, I think unfortunately like a lot of things right now it’s up in the air and it’s a little bit dependent on other university policies and procedures and how we can enforce it,” said ASUA President Tara Singleton.
She said ASUA will be following the university’s best practices and helping clubs get the resources and other assistance they need.
Noah Vega, executive vice president of ASUA, said that the goal is to get clubs and organizations back to meeting in-person, if possible.
“I definitely still want to see clubs meet in person but as we always talk about, things are up in the air in terms of advising and stuff,” Vega said.
ASUA has not released an official policy yet on whether or not clubs will be allowed to meet in-person; however, they are preparing for clubs to go online.
The following statement can be found on ASUA’s website within the organization’s statement on COVID-19 under the “Coronavirus COVID-19” subsection of the home page: “All Club Advocates are in the process of becoming trained in Zoom in order to help clubs adjust to regular Zoom meetings for the remainder of the semester.”
The statement encouraged clubs to contact ASUA if they have questions about meetings, changes in club funding or registration.
Rye explained some of the extra measures the Disney club is taking as a result of COVID-19.
“We are currently trying to see if we can still book lecture halls to hold socially distant meetings,” Rye said via email. “If this is not a possibility, we are discussing either meeting outdoors or via Zoom.”
Community involvement opportunities
College is a great time to explore your interests, but why not explore while giving back? Here are some options and websites that can help you find a good community service/outreach fit for you:
If you are not sure what kind of community service or outreach opportunity you want to contribute to, sites like VolunteerMatch can help you share your specific skills with community members in need. The site even includes virtual volunteer opportunities that you can participate in.
Want to help the UA reduce its carbon footprint? ASUA’s Students for Sustainability can be a great opportunity for environmentally conscious Wildcats. Students for Sustainability has eight committees ranging from environmental social justice to environmental arts.
Going to college can seem unattainable to some underprivileged children. The student-run organization Camp Wildcat seeks to help local youth think of higher education as attainable through free camping trips. Camp Wildcat is also free to UA students who complete the required training.
For information and an update on the future plans of Camp Wildcat during the COVID-19 pandemic, call (520)429-0348 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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