Matthew Krauss, News Writer • email@example.com
The E&H marching band is one of the many affinity groups on campus. Affinity groups can help students find friendship and support during their college years.
For new students, adjusting to the college environment can be difficult. Affinity groups attempt to help students integrate by providing communities of people within the same discipline.
They are subdivisions of athletic teams, intramurals and clubs where like-minded students can meet and recruit new members, specifically high schoolers. They are intended for showcasing the work done at E&H for surrounding areas.
Assistant Professor of Mass Communications Mark Finney sponsors an affinity group intended for students in his field. He has created the Middle Appalachian High School Media Association. This February they will host their media competition. It is open to high schoolers wanting to showcase their media presentations such as news story and videos. Winners will receive scholarships to attend Emory & Henry.
Finney sees the program as a way of letting potential students feel more welcome on campus before they even begin their first semester. He said, “Think of it like the football team. The players on the team have coaches, mentors and athletic trainers who help players. We want to give students a similar community of peers.”
Admissions counselor Traci Harrison works directly with these groups. She stated, “I coordinate with local high schools to find out about events so campus groups can plan what events to attend. In the spring our STEM Club will attend regional science fairs.”
All of these groups have special requirements. For instance, being part of the band or the outdoor program will not automatically allow a student access to the affinity program. Harrison explained, “Some are rigorous, requiring enrollment in certain courses and for students to maintain high GPAs.”
The affinity programs allow diversity within opportunities presented at Emory. They allow for the presence of diverse clubs such as disc golf and rugby. The clubs are actively recruiting and STEM will have an open house later this fall.
Senior Jake Caudill is part of the adventure team, the outdoor program’s affinity group.
“This is the first year of the program and we are taking a trip to watch Gauley Fest,” said Caudill.
Gauley Fest is a weekend long festival in West Virginia celebrating river sporting. Caudill added, “We are also participating in three college climbing competitions and taking a kayaking trip down Tennessee’s Nantahala River.”
Affinity groups can help students earn their major. The Church Leadership Fellows Program, run by chaplain Mary K. Briggs, helps provide scholarships for religious students.
It also provides leadership forums for students to learn how religious organizations are set up and how to effectively manage them.