Take extracurriculars back to the classroom

The Strand is one of five KCL campuses in Greater London. It houses humanities, law and some social sciences.
The Strand is one of five KCL campuses in Greater London. It houses humanities, law and some social sciences.

Every week at King’s, I log on to the King’s website to see What’s On.

“What’s On” are British versions of event calendars for American universities. King’s “What’s On,” in my opinion, is much better than any “event’s calendar” I’ve encountered. Not only does the university compile any academic events for the week, but it also promotes all social events put on by various student groups.

In my time at KCL so far, I’ve had the opportunity to have wine with economists, chat with Google employees, and question book editors. I attended seminars on Women in Media, Careers in NGOs, Economics in the U.S. and the World of Publishing.

And those are only some of the dozens of panels and forums which have been offered since I’ve been here.

I don’t have much to compare with my experience at King’s. Over the last few weeks I’ve been painfully aware of my own, limited point of view.

However, within my limited view, it seems that King’s has resources that most universities can only dream to acquire. Upon further inspection, I found that’s kind-of true.

You see, KCL is, as I’ve mentioned in previous posts, part of the University of London system. UL is not an actual university, per se, but is a bunch of “universities” or “colleges” that share resources like professors, rec centers and (you guessed it) guest lecturers.

Because King’s can bring in other professors, alumni and benefactors from any of UL’s 28 colleges and institutions. This means before even looking for speakers to bring in, let alone worrying about being able to pay and accomodate such speakers, King’s (and other UL colleges) is at a distinct advantage. 

During any given week, there can be five to 20 academic-related events on campus.

Personally, I was at first outraged when I found out how many events King’s holds weekly. Why don’t we have stuff like this Marquette?

I realized it was my own fault that I didn’t know about Marquette’s events. Something happens every week, I just never take the time to find out what those things might be and when – I can’t be bothered to do a little bit of learning outside the classroom.

My sophomore year, I asked a graduating friend what his advice would be to incoming freshmen.

“Go to as many of the talks as you can,” he said. “They’re free, and you’ll never get another opportunity to listen to some of those people.”

I was too involved in what I thought my own “Marquette Experience” would be to listen to the advice from someone else’s. I should’ve taken his advice.

Marquette offers similar opportunities as King’s does, albeit on a smaller scale. Guest lectures, film screenings, rallies and meet-and-greets all happen on campus, if you know where to look.

That last bit is the hard part.

I can’t deny that Marquette has an events calendar page.  But, this is a giant list of places that offer events with litte information on the actual events. A list of links takes you to others lists of links. Students are notified of events from clubs only if they’re on their Listserv, are friends with someone on Facebook who invites them to an event, or happen to actually read the posters and table tents around campus.

Marquette has had some great speakers, forums and other opportunities for students in the past, but it does seem difficult to find them. If we had a centralized calendar that everyone actually used, students might show up at more events that they aren’t required to go to for class.

We do like learning outside of the classroom, after all. We just need to know how we can do so.