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Freshman 101: Clubs To Join This Fall If You’re Looking For A Community Feel

Once spring semester rolls around, Penn State freshmen will have the opportunity to find a great new homes within Greek life if they so choose. But until that time comes, here are some other awesome clubs you can join this fall if you’re still looking for a sense of community early on in your college career.

Fitness Clubs

Students often want to find the time to work out during a busy day, but it can be difficult on top of classes and other commitments. Luckily, Penn State has numerous clubs that offer the opportunity to both stay in shape and find a group of close-knit friends.

Penn State’s CHAARG chapter invites girls to work out, hang out, and go on coffee dates with their small groups. Organizations like Crossfit Club are open to both experienced athletes and those who are totally new to this intense type of workout.

If you played a sport in high school, consider joining a club sport on campus. They’re a great way to stay active and to serve the Penn State community — groups like Club Cross Country work to raise money for THON, and you’ll have the opportunity to participate in fundraisers and other service events throughout the year with your teammates.


Penn State is notably home to THON — the largest student-run philanthropy in the world. In fact, one of the best ways to jump-start your involvement with THON and to make friends of all ages is to join a THON committee or special interest THON organization.

THON special interest orgs are official student organizations that exist solely to raise money FTK (For The Kids if you’re still new to this), and they’re generally larger groups of students. If you’re interested in joining one, check out groups like Atlas, Ohana, and Springfield. Unlike THON committees, some of these groups are open to new members all throughout the year.

If you have a specific role in mind that you want to play during THON Weekend, consider applying for a THON committee based on your personal interests. The Dancer Relations Committee works to ensure the safety and well-being of dancers during their 46-hour journey on the floor, while the OPPerations Committee transforms the Bryce Jordan Center before and after THON Weekend. THON Committee applications are typically due mid-September.

Other Service Organizations

There are also plenty of service organizations on campus that you can join in addition to THON. These groups allow students to give back to a cause personal to them, and they’re a fantastic way to meet students outside of your classroom or dorm. Sisters on the Runway raises money for the Centre County Women’s Resource Center through events like Walk a Mile in her Shoes and an annual fashion show. If you’re an animal lover, for example, consider joining the Small & Exotic Animal Club, which promotes responsible pet ownership and animal education. 

Religious Groups

If you’re hoping join a religious organization on campus, Penn State has plenty of options for every student. Groups like Navigators and Hillel serve as a second home away from home for many Penn Staters. Click here to search through a more comprehensive list of Penn State’s religious organizations.

Major-Related Organizations

One of the best ways to meet students you’ll mesh well with is to join an organization through your own college, including Penn State’s Department of Undergraduate Studies. Students hoping to pursue a degree through the Smeal College of Business, for example, could consider rushing a business fraternity or joining one of the college’s many specialized organizations, such as the Accounting Society. Many colleges also offer students the opportunity to serve as a representative of the college, which is a great way to build your resume and meet other students in your classes.

Make sure to talk to your advisor or visit your college’s individual website to see which involvement opportunities are available. Chances are you’ll find a club that will allow you to meet other students and become more excited about your major.

Which clubs did we miss? Let us know in the comments which clubs make Penn State feel more like home!

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About the Author

Claire Fountas

Claire Fountas is the student life editor for Onward State, as well as a junior pursuing a double major in journalism and psychology. She lives in a suburb of Chicago and strongly disagrees with anyone who hates the Cubs or the Blackhawks (so, pretty much anyone at Penn State). You can follow her @ClaireFountas or email her at [email protected]

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