Chris Tomalty, a third-year public affairs and policy management student, speaks about his involvement with campus clubs and the opportunities that they have provided him during his time at Carleton.
Whether you’re new to a school or someone who has put in a few academic years, clubs and societies are an important part of any student’s social life. Nowhere else will you find such a mix of people with different backgrounds sharing a common passion and a common experience.
When I moved to Ottawa, I was on my own. I didn’t come with a group of friends, and I didn’t know many people in the city. The people on my residence floor were really nice, but very few of us shared common interests. I had never had the time during my years in high school in Canada for extracurriculars, so I went to the Clubs Expo. I did the whole circuit – choir, board games, Quidditch – but only ended up joining two clubs, and these are the ones which would help make my university experience such a massive success.
The first club I joined was the Campus Conservatives. I had spent a year living in pre-revolution Tunisia, and that started a passion for politics and policy which brought me to the door of a party which shared my values. Before long I was the first-year representative, and have held different positions for the last three years.
The second was the United Nations Society, Carleton’s Model UN team. MUN is something I had gotten involved with in Tunisia, and I quickly fell in with the wonderful people at the UNS, and became the Director of Training in second and third year.
Both groups brought together people from many different backgrounds and perspectives, and both gave me the opportunity to meet amazing people and do things I wouldn’t have thought that I’d get the chance to do. Through the Conservatives, I was able to get internship placements with an MP (which has turned into a job for the last two years) and two members of the Cabinet working in my field. These were the most interesting summers of my life. Through the Model UN team, I quickly began to specialize in security and crisis committees and have won several awards while debating and engaging with students from around the world.
Clubs form the backbone of the university community. They bring out people who would otherwise never interact, they hold events to educate people on the importance of issues which would have never occurred to them, and they provide an important supplement – whether educational or social – to the classroom environment.
What we learn in the classroom is important and I’m a strong believer in academic primacy at university, but without a social life we can’t really become the people we could be. Whether it’s to relieve stress, to delve in to a passion, or just to meet new people, I’m a strong believer that clubs make an indispensable addition to the university life.
Submitted by Chris Tomalty, a third-year public affairs and policy management student.
To find out more about what clubs and societies are available on campus, please visit cusaonline.ca/clubs/