With the growing popularity of online classes, a number of students have started getting involved “on campus.” While most Penn State students have the opportunity to join one of the nearly 1,000 recognized clubs on campus, staying engaged becomes obviously and physically difficult for the nearly 5 million online learners in the United States last year.
Ray Vasquez, a 26-year-old Penn State World Campus student from Dallas, founded a technology club this semester to interact with other students in the College of Information Sciences and Technology. The club will also promote a discussion about online students as part of next week’s IST Start-up Week.
“I wanted to help people network and gather around a specific interest,” Vasquez said.
Now that the internet has made higher education more available for full-time workers like Vasquez, online students can now experience the social side of college. World Campus already has a psychology club with more than 200 members as well as a chapter of the Blue & White Society.
Terah Richardson, the club’s faculty adviser, sees online clubs as a necessity for students in the changing realm of education.
“The more students become involved and feel a connection with Penn State, the more likely that they’re going to stay at Penn State. Any way that we can strengthen that connection is a positive,” Richardson said. “Our students want to be connected to Penn State, even at a distance.”