At Brown, life outside the classroom is, in large part, determined by the interests and efforts of students and student organizations. The Student Activities Office supports and guides students through the processes required to create events and programs from conceptualization through implementation. Our philosophy is to work with students and to assist them in learning valuable life skills while encouraging them to take ownership and responsibility for their programs and groups. We help students apply what they have learned in the classroom and elsewhere to their involvements on campus and in the greater community.
The staff also co-coordinates undergraduate Orientation with the Dean of the College and supports leadership development programming at Brown, including the Brown Outdoor Leadership Training (BOLT), Brown Student Agencies, and Liber Brunensis (Brown's Yearbook).
In addition, the office provides oversight and coordination to several facilities that serve the Brown community—the Stephen Robert '62 Campus Center and T.F. Green Hall for Student Performing Arts.
1. How does my student get involved in student groups or organizations?
There are over 400 student groups at Brown representing a diverse array of interests and programs including athletics, performing arts, cultural and identity-based, activism, and social. There are also many groups affiliated with departments including the Swearer Center for Public Service, Office of the Chaplains & Religious Life, Hillel, and many academic departments. There is a student activities fair at the beginning of each semester. Encourage your student to attend the fair to learn more about options on campus or visit the Student Activities Office located in the Stephen Robert ’62 Campus Center.
2. Who determines what groups exist and receive funding?
The Undergraduate Council of Students (UCS), Brown’s student government is responsible for recognizing student organizations. Another student body, the Undergraduate Finance Board (UFB) is responsible for allocating the student activities fee, which is part of every students’ fee. This funding provides for much of the vast array of programming which occurs each year at Brown.
3. My student is having a hard time finding their niche. What should I do?
At times, the number of options and choices at Brown can be overwhelming. Perhaps attending an activities fair with hundreds of options isn’t the right way for your student to connect. Small club meetings occur on a weekly basis and checking out a new group without being sure whether or not you want to commit is encouraged. The Student Activities Office works with a software program called BearSync which tracks active groups and provides resources and announcements.. Your student can browse through the BearSync website to find meeting times and locations or talk to hallmates about their interests. (A public search can also be found here). Encourage your student to reach out and explore them option while reassuring them that it can take some time to acclimate and find your place. They are always welcome to visit the Student Activities Office to learn more about getting involved.
4. My student is involved in so many activities and I don’t understand how they have time for it all. How can I help them to balance their academics, activities and social life?
We encourage students to balance their involvements and to make sure they are taking care of themselves. Many Brown students feel they need to be involved in numerous groups and not just as members, but in leadership positions. We encourage students to recognize, both for themselves and the success of groups, that a strong commitment to one or two groups which are functioning as a team and creating great programs is just as, if not more impressive than being the leader of four or five groups which are struggling. Encourage your student to consider joining existing groups rather than starting new ones. Encourage them to pick one or two things they are really passionate about and remind them they have four years to explore the breadth and depth of what Brown has to offer.