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SMC student involvement increases

Emilie DesJardins | Thursday, September 25, 2003

Student involvement on campus is constantly increasing at Saint Mary’s College, said Georgeanna Rosenbush, director of student activities at the College.The number of registered clubs and organizations has jumped from 11 in 1983 to 80 this year, Rosenbush said.”Doing well in class is recognized as being very important here at SMC, but even higher regarded is the integrated learning experience that comes from being actively involved on campus,” Student Body President Elizabeth Jablonski-Diehl said.Among the newest organizations are the Feminists United Club, God sisters, Campus Girl Scouts and the Bellezine, a magazine created last year.”It is a forum of ideas and opinions of students,” said Emily Ford, an editor of the magazine, which publishes twice each semester.She said there was “a good turnout at the first meeting and a lot of interest.” Involvement is also growing in campus organizations that have been around longer, such as Friends with Sisters, a program that strategically pairs students with nuns.”They can do a variety of activities together, including going for walks, attending Mass or performances on Saint Mary’s campus or just sharing stories and experiences in their room,” said student coordinator Sarah Brown.Participation in athletics has also grown tremendously in the last few years.”I believe that if your program is structured with positive reinforcement, good coaching, support from the top, success in the classroom, and you are recruiting with that same vision, then your programs will begin to improve,” said Linda Timm, who became athletic director in 1999.”Our team numbers are increasing, and we have taken huge strides in the last four years and we are now competitive across the board,” Timm said.Saint Mary’s crossed a huge boundary last spring when the golf team took fourth in the NCAA Division III Golf National Championship and junior golfer Stefanie Simmerman won SMC’s first individual NCAA Championship.Intramural sports have also seen an increase from 50 to 800 participants since Timm’s arrival four years ago and will be adding whiffle ball this spring. Although participation and ability are improving, Timm wants to go further.”I have had a vision since I arrived here of packing our stands for home athletic events,” Timm said. Some student-athletes think we are getting closer to this goal.”I think school spirit has greatly increased over the past four years, and this translates to better support for athletics,” said senior softball player Marnie Walsh. “You can always improve, but I feel the turnout has been better this year.”