Titans eager to invest in belonging

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Investments are made by people in order to generate opportunities for profit in the future. Many students at Cal State Fullerton see paying a membership fee to join a student organization as an investment, even at a time where everything is expensive.

“Members are just like customers in a store and like to receive something on the spot,” said Victoria Soriano, 20, a public administration and criminal justice double major.

As president of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, Soriano juggles many tasks including recruitment, membership engagement and addressing member concerns and feedback.

For a one-time fee of $95, participants of the organization receive a lifetime membership, official pin, access to scholarships, discounts, networking, careers and leadership opportunities.

“I like the prestige and benefits of the organization and have come to learn that it has so much to offer its members for a one-time fee,” Soriano said.

Peer Health University Network (PHUN) executive secretary Jasmine Benavides has also found her involvement in a club to be rewarding.

Starting Friday, a membership of $30 will help maintain the organization, fund their Friday 10 a.m. meetings and year-end formal. They also provide T-shirts, promotional items and health topic events.

“PHUN is dedicated towards educating peers and promoting healthy behaviors. Members have the opportunity to network amongst each other and gain valuable connections,” Benavides said.

Taking into account all that these organizations have to offer, students like Ariana Garica, 21, a human services major, do not mind paying a membership fee.

Garcia will be joining Human Services Student Association (HSSA) this fall for $40. Apart from receiving a T-shirt, membership and HSSA cord at graduation, she said what made her want to join the club was the community events and volunteer opportunities to go to different cities in Orange County.

“Small portions of membership fees and any money raised in fundraisers throughout year will go to charitable organizations the club chooses. The fee is going to a good cause,” Garcia said.

Being a commuter student with a part-time job had prevented Garcia from getting involved. Now she said she finds that getting involved will be a gratifying college experience and a great way to help make a difference on campus and the community.

Investing money in clubs does not discourage students like Garcia from joining.

With tuition, gas prices and overall cost of living being at a high, all the opportunities a club offers outweigh a membership fee. Membership fees, however, seem to stay under $100.

The Entertainment and Tourism Club provides an annual mixer, and the opportunity to attend TV tapings or network with industry professionals for a $50 fee, according to their Facebook page.

Students can even learn to dance the salsa like Latin actor William Levy, who recently appeared on Dancing with the Stars. The Salsa Club charges $25 per semester and provides members with salsa lessons, opportunities to watch professional performances and  access to scholarships.

Low membership costs help clubs recruit more students, even if they are on a tight budget.

Like with an investment, membership fees are used to achieve a common goal that will benefit everyone involved.

Garcia advises freshman students to find a club to get involved with early in their college experience.

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