Hodges University Clubs Parade Float

Making the Most of Your College Experience

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College is more than time spent studying and completing assignments. College is a time for creating friendships, getting involved and participating in activities with others who share similar interests.

Dr. Marcia Turner, Hodges’ dean of students, explains, “Student life outside of the classroom can and does make a contribution to the overall student’s success. Hodges research has validated the classroom performance of our students who have participated in clubs and organizations is greater than students who did not.”

Currently, there are eight clubs and organizations on Hodges’ campuses: Allied Health Club, Communication Club, Fisher School of Technology Society, Fort Myers Ambassadors, John Ebling Memorial at Hodges University American Legion Post 397, Johnson School of Business Club, Naples Ambassadors and Psychology Club.

Allied Health Club
Adviser: Dr. Susan Anderson
Established in May 2009, members of the Allied Health Club are dedicated to supporting the School of Allied Health programs, as well as inspiring current students and alumni through participation in various activities while integrating school-based discussion with real-world experiences.

Top 10 Reasons Students Say They Participate in Clubs and Organizations

  1. Camaraderie and friendship
  2. Community service
  3. Networking with like-minded people
  4. Getting to know the great advisers and faculty
  5. Wearing a club medallion at graduation
  6. Supports academic and professional development
  7. Social and professional leadership opportunities
  8. Supports what is learned in the classroom
  9. Looks great on resumes and graduate school applications
  10. It’s an extra support system at Hodges

Since its inception, members have participated in many local community service opportunities. Much of their participation includes fundraising walks for charitable organizations. In fall 2016, club members plan to participate in walks for Alzheimer’s as well as the American Heart Association.

Apart from their work in the community, club members spend time working together on class assignments and projects. Judie Fox, student development coordinator for Hodges, explains, “The friendships and support members receive through the club is immeasurable. For example, club members form study groups to support one another in their classes, they discuss current issues relevant to their field, and they invite guest speakers in a wide array of subjects.”

Communication Club
Adviser: Professor Andrea Fortin
Dedicated to providing students of all disciplines the opportunity to build communication skills for personal and professional improvement, Hodges’ Communication Club was founded in the fall of 2015. With an estimated 15 members, Andrea Fortin, professor and club adviser, explains, “The Communication Club’s mission is to support club members in attaining higher level communication skills and promote understanding of best communication practices. Through club activities and service to the community, our members will acquire expertise in communication that will assist them in their future goals both personally and professionally.”

Although the club is in its infancy, members meet monthly to discuss opportunities for service and engagement. In summer 2015, Professor Tom Pear took members on a private tour of the Edison Ford Winter Estates. After the tour, members held a barbeque and played glow in the dark croquet.

“The event was a big hit as it provided our members a historical perspective into how Edison and Ford came to be. Our next project is a creation of a political panel in which we hope to decipher the commonly used terms by politicians so we can be more educated voters,” said Phuc (Sean) Tran, a Hodges cybersecurity and forensics student.

In addition to the upcoming political panel, the Communications Club has recently partnered with Hodges’ English as a Second Language (ESL) program to establish a way for “students whose native language is not English to converse with native speakers about culture and other interests,” said Fortin. “Communication Club EXL is a social space to share culture, food, fun and the English language. It will be hosting a variety of social and learning experiences, including an international potluck, game nights, yoga and more.”

Currently, the club is conducting a fundraiser for the Animal Refuge Center of Fort Myers, and starting in fall 2016, club members will begin volunteering at the center.

Fisher School of Technology Society
Adviser: Professor Tracey Lanham
Dedicated to spreading awareness of technology throughout the Hodges community, Fisher School of Technology (FSoT) Society students and alumni work together to discover ways to use technology as a tool to expand the imagination, further communication with others and experience the world in new and exciting ways.

In February 2016, society members collaborated with the Wounded Warrior Anglers of America, Inc. (WWA) to establish an internal network for the organization’s Cape Coral facility, installing computers, printers, Internet and Wi-Fi. Other community-related activities include the adoption of Treeline Elementary in Fort Myers. Students taught children about coding, programming and robotics.

“Our mission is to expand this program into Collier County as well, as we try to support schools that are lacking any kind of technology curriculum for the students,” said Professor Tracey Lanham, Hodges’ computer information technology program chair and FSoT Society faculty adviser.

For the 2016-2017 school year, Lanham and society members plan to schedule monthly visits and continue their work with Treeline Elementary. In addition, members will continue to participate in various events with charitable organizations such as Relay for Life.

Fort Myers Ambassadors
Adviser: Judie Fox
With 18 members, Fort Myers Ambassadors stay busy throughout the year. Created after the rise in popularity from the Naples Ambassadors organization, students organize community service events both on and off campus.

“I initially joined the club to try and meet other students and just make friends,” said Ashley Colón, club president and Hodges student. “I ended up gaining a lot more. In joining the club, I have gained numerous friends, as well as participated in several opportunities to represent the school.”

Each term, members participate in Orientation, greeting visitors, answering student questions and serving food. Once the term officially begins, they turn their attention to the non-perishable food drive for the Harry Chapin Food Bank. Other activities throughout the year include volunteering at the Midwest Food Bank and Habitat for Humanity, as well as sponsoring the Giving Tree in the Student Union each December, which serves as an opportunity for individuals to purchase gifts for a selected organization in Lee County. The gifts are then collected, wrapped and delivered by Fort Myers Ambassadors members. In addition, members volunteer at the Southwest Florida Snowpile Event at Golisano Children’s Hospital, which allows parents to choose gifts for their children who are hospitalized at Golisano. Members wrap and deliver the gifts to the parents so they may give the gift to their child on Christmas.

“I believe others should join [Fort Myers Ambassadors] not only to make friends, but also to become a real member of our Hodges family, as well as a member of our community,” said Colón.

John Ebling Memorial at Hodges University American Legion Post 397
Adviser: Christine Manson
Servicing Hodges’ veteran students, the Fort Myers campus hosts the John Ebling Memorial at Hodges University American Legion Post 397, which was established in 2013. Hodges is also the first university to have an American Legion run solely by students.

Dedicated to working closely with Hodges’ veteran students, the American Legion Post is a great way for students to come together in support of one another, as well as reach out to other veterans in the community.

“It’s a great way to meet other veterans, network and receive information that can benefit you such as VA claims and entitlements for veterans,” said Juan Garcia. Garcia served as an active duty staff sergeant in the U.S. Air Force. He is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in management.

Currently, the Post is working to recruit additional members and plan events for the upcoming 2016-2017 school year. Meeting monthly, the group serves as a valuable resource for information, as well as a place for student veterans to establish relationships and build camaraderie.

Johnson School of Business Club
Adviser: Cynthia Cole
As its vision states, the Kenneth Oscar Johnson School of Business Club “helps to develop the leaders of today and the executives of tomorrow.” Each month, members of Hodges’ Business Club work together to create ways to support current students in their goal to become business professionals, as well as engage alumni who serve as representatives of Hodges’ Business School.

Providing mentorship opportunities, networking opportunities with fellow students and business professionals and inviting business speakers to attend meetings, the Business Club strives to “assist current students and alumni in integrating learning with the real business world.”

According to Dr. Anke Stugk, the club’s former faculty adviser, past speakers included “a board member from the Cato Institute, which is a financial adviser group; as well as Michael Dury, who is a long supporter of Hodges University and provided a supportive and encouraging speech to Hodges students by highlighting the importance of persistence and education,” she said. In fall 2015, the club hosted the Stock Market game, which began with an investment Q&A with Gordon Kellam, who is a financial adviser with BB&T Scott & Stringfellow.

In addition to the campus-based activities and guest speakers, Stugk also explained, “Club members are encouraged to volunteer for local charitable organization such as Habitat for Humanity and ZOObilee at Naples Zoo. In summer 2015, the club organized a headshot fundraiser to support the club and a local charity.”

Naples Ambassadors
Adviser: Professor A.J. Fielding
Founded in 2002, Naples Ambassadors (HU Ambassadors) was the first organized club at Hodges. The club is dedicated to fostering fellowship among students, utilizing and developing leadership skills, and participating in and creating community service opportunities. In addition, they sponsor social activities and programs for students and their families, and serve as representatives of Hodges’ student body.

Hodges undergraduate student Zaklina Stojkoski serves as chair of Naples Ambassadors. After attending new student orientation in the fall of 2015, she knew she wanted to get involved in a campus club or organization, saying, “Naples Ambassadors stood out to me above all of the other clubs. I joined because a fellow student told me how much fun they have and about all of the volunteering opportunities and chances to meet new people in our community.”

Naples Ambassadors, much like Fort Myers Ambassadors, conduct many service-related activities on campus and in the community, including volunteering with Habitat for Humanity, hosting movie nights on campus, gift-wrapping for the Guadalupe Center, working with the Harry Chapin Empty Bowls Foundation and representing Hodges at events such as ZOObilee, Naples Zoo’s premier fundraising event.

“Being involved in Naples Ambassadors has allowed me to meet new friends, speak to professors and other staff at Hodges, and be involved in my school. I always encourage students to join because it opens up opportunities to network, give back to your community and meet new friends,” Stojkoski said.

Psychology Club
Adviser: Dr. Tom Hofmann
Supporting the applied psychology and clinical mental health counseling programs, the Psychology Club was created in 2008. Educating current students and alumni in the integration of learning and real-world experiences, members are encouraged to participate in networking opportunities with students, community organizations and professionals. This networking also includes mentoring, speaker sponsorships and a range of activities, which supports both students and alumni in seeking to achieve professional careers in the field of psychology and clinical mental health.

According to Judie Fox, former adviser for the club, students who join Psychology Club can expect “to expand their learning beyond the classroom, network with psychology and counseling students and professionals, and explore their career goals while making friendships that last a lifetime.”

Clinical mental health counseling student Anita Penn Daswani serves a vice president of the club. Sharing her experience, she admits she was apprehensive about joining, unsure of how much she would benefit from her experience. However, after attending the first meeting, she said, “I realized how much I enjoyed being with peers who were like-minded…Being in the club has helped me work through issues I’ve had with organization and time management, while also being a supportive and helpful team member to other individuals in the club.”

Some of the activities and community service opportunities the club has participated in include the Alzheimer’s Walk and raising funds for the Alzheimer’s Association. In addition, the club recently hosted guest speaker Reid Kirchhoff, a mental health therapist who spoke on the topic, “LGBTQ 101: Increasing Competency and Understanding with our LGBTA Neighbors.”

To find out how you can get involved in Hodges’ clubs and organizations or for more information, contact Judie Fox at jfox@hodges.edu.