New Pick One! program encourages students to get involved

By University Communications
November 26, 2014
New Pick One! program at UW-Stout

Photo: New Pick One! program at UW-Stout

Students at UW-Stout have a vast array of ways to get involved in campus life. A new program is bringing attention to all those opportunities by encouraging them to at least pick one.

The program, aptly named Pick One!, was introduced to freshmen and transfer students during summer registration and then again during orientation week at the start of the fall semester. Each new student received a deck of cards illustrating various involvement opportunities.

“Statistics show a marked improvement in retention and college success when students get involved,” said Jennifer Lee, associate director of the Memorial Student Center.

A couple of students can attest to the program’s benefits. Freshman Valerie Fly, of Menomonie, knew that she wanted to play tennis but not competitively. “So once I was introduced to Pick One! I signed up for club tennis,” she said.

Fly, majoring in psychology, also plans to join a club associated with her major, she said.

Jake Carlson, of Glenwood City, a freshman majoring in engineering technology, has jumped right in and joined more than one club. He wanted to find “something new that I have never done before,” he said.

Areas in which students can get involved include academic-related groups, professional groups, recreation, athletics, performing arts, fraternities and sororities, multicultural groups, volunteering and campus employment.

For students who don’t know what to pick, there’s help. The Involvement Center at UW-Stout offers personalized involvement planning sessions — Find Your Fit — with a peer. Students discuss their goals and interests before developing a plan to get involved.

The idea was introduced in fall 2013 campuswide faculty and staff engagement sessions. A Campus Engagement Committee was formed to review feedback. Four months later Pick One! was formed.

Krista Proksch, involvement coordinator at UW-Stout, learned about the idea from Iowa State while at a conference. “It was a very simple but effective way to promote student engagement,” she said. “They gave us permission to adapt the program for UW-Stout, and we ran with it.”

Katherine Bosworth, of River Falls, a graphic design and interactive media major, designed the Pick One! promotional campaign, including posters, a website and the playing cards. Her work can be seen at www.pickone.uwstout.edu. The posters are in residence halls, the Memorial Student Center and other locations on campus.

Bosworth won a Best in Show Award for her work from the Association of College Unions International Region V Conference Nov. 14-16 at Northern Illinois University.

Funding for Pick One! was provided by the Chancellor’s Office, Stout Student Association, Residence Hall Association and Involvement Center.

Data is being collected in November, and the first results on the program’s effectiveness will be available during the spring semester. “Anecdotally, it appears there is an increase in involvement,” Lee said. “Offices are busier with students looking for ways to be involved.”