Students should resolve to get involved on campus

Today is the two-year anniversary of the death of Sir Edmund Hillary, who, with Tenzing Norgay, were the first people to climb to Mount Everest’s summit, the Earth’s highest peak.

“People do not decide to become extraordinary. They decide to accomplish extraordinary things,” said Hillary after climbing Everest in 1953.

People in Hillary’s era imagined extraordinary achievements for humans in the 21st century.  As this decade came to a close, the human race should enter with a renewed spirit of opportunity for progress toward new accomplishments.

Most people are not engineers or researchers. But everyone has a chance to do something extraordinary at school, and it should start now at USF. Get involved in campus activities and student organizations. Make it a New Year’s Resolution for 2010.

With more than 35,000 undergraduates, USF is becoming more and more diverse.  With almost 38 percent of students in last fall’s freshman class identified as non-Caucasian, a great number of different skills and talents are embodied at the University.

My message to students: Do not wait until life after graduation to make an impact in the world. Do it now through one of more than 500 student organizations at USF.  Every year, students establish 20 to 30 new organizations.

Some are more service-oriented than others, but working in these will boost campus engagement and help transcend the self-centered focus on grades and future jobs that could make college seem stale.

According to the Center for Student Involvement, students who get involved tend to have better time management skills and better grades, so staying busy is not a bad thing. They also have opportunities to become leaders in organization officer positions or Student Government (SG).

A portion of all student fees goes toward funding these organizations — so why not take advantage of it?  Last fall, SG allocated more than $11 million in Activity and Service fees.

Procrastination is unacceptable if society is to move forward and achieve great things. Don’t wait for tomorrow to have your voice heard in the chorus of USF activity.

Remember that Hillary was just an ordinary man with the will to climb Everest. It’s important to contribute time and effort to organizations, so be motivated to do so entering a new year.

Neil Manimala is a junior majoring in biomedical sciences.