AC clubs and organizations will be on display Jan. 18 at Badger Connect

As a newcomer to Amarillo College in 2021, Makayla Caudillo fully intended to bypass the cluster of exhibits that comprised Badger Connect, the showcase of clubs and organizations presented each semester during Welcome Week.

“I was a freshman, shy and nervous, and I was going to walk right past all that stuff on my way to class,” Caudillo said. “But before I could get past it, a guy who was vice president of SGA (Student Government Association) approached me.

“He was very nice, and everyone he introduced me to was so welcoming.”

To make a long story short, Caudillo agreed to attend a subsequent SGA meeting and the rest is history. Now, it’s this once-shy nursing major who is vice president of SGA, and as such she will be among those greeting newcomers – just as she herself was greeted– at this month’s version of Badger Connect.

More than 30 clubs and organizations, ranging from the Legal Society and Intramural Sports to Badger Esports and the Hispanic Students Association, will be on display on the second day of classes at the Washington Street Campus.

Specifically, Badger Connect is 10 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 18 on the Oeschger Family Mall. Should the weather prove inclement, the event will be moved into the first-floor confines of the adjacent Ware Student Commons.

Jenna Welch, Student Life coordinator for AC, not only invites all students to attend Badger Connect, but says plenty of data exists to underscore the value of extracurricular activities as they relate to the overall success of college students.

“Many studies point out that participation in activities outside the classroom can and often do have a favorable impact on student success,” Welch said.

“The networking that occurs between students with like interests, the development of time-management skills, and the social opportunities afforded by involvement in clubs and organizations can lead not only to a more well-rounded student, but to improved academic performance.”

Welch says students who do not find a club or organization in the Student Life inventory that matches their interests are welcome to start their own; they simply need a minimum of six students willing to form the foundation of the group, along with a commitment from a full-time AC employee to serve as the group’s advisor. Interested parties may contact Welch in the Student Life office: 806-371-5322.

Marcus Benefield, who says he was never involved in extracurricular activities while in high school, decided to reverse that trend when he enrolled at AC. And reverse it he has; for now, the former bystander is the SGA president.

“I was introduced to the concept of clubs at AC during my freshman orientation, and even though I was sort of shy I decided I wanted to check out what all was available,” Benefield said. “I wanted to be more active in college than I was in high school – to make the most of my college experience.

“I think students who take the time to visit with the organizations that will have a presence at Badger Connect will find something, possibly many things, that will interest them.”

Badger Connect is a cornerstone event of Welcome Week, which Student Life sponsors during the first week of each fall and spring semester at AC. Among other welcoming activities slated on Oeschger Family Mall during Welcome Week are: Black Student Union will honor the memory of Martin Luther King Jr. with a “Bracelets for Freedom” event on Tuesday, Jan. 17; and Baptist Student Ministry will serve free lunches on Thursday, Jan. 19.

For more information about Welcome Week activities at AC, please call the Student Life office: 806-371-5322.