Feb 8, 2021 | Atlanta, GA
Article by Emma Ryan
Looking for a way to connect with other students beyond the lab and classroom? From flying planes to discipline-specific professional groups, there’s a club and organization for everyone at Georgia Tech — and many are still offering a full schedule of activities this spring.
Read on to learn more about five on-campus organizations that might be a fit for you.
Outdoor Recreation (ORGT)
Whether you’re a seasoned outdoorsperson or just looking to try something new, ORGT offers an activity for you. ORGT’s Adventure Trips, which include options like backpacking, kayaking, and mountain biking, take participants across the state. (Trips are guided by trained student volunteers.) During the pandemic, Adventure Trips have been modified to be shorter and socially distanced, but ORGT still has tentative overnight trips scheduled for later in the semester.
“The ORGT community welcomed me with open arms as I adjusted to life in a new city, at a new university, and hundreds of miles away from my friends,” said first-year Electrical and Computer Engineering master’s student Blake Capella, who is the rock climbing gear chair and a rock climbing instructor-in-training for ORGT. “On weekends that I easily could have spent in my room working on research or classwork, I was able to step outside and go exploring. ORGT offers a supportive community that pushes me not only to strengthen my outdoor skills, but to develop myself more fully as a person.”
Black Graduate Student Association (GT BGSA)
GT BGSA supports Tech’s Black graduate student community and offers professional development and community outreach opportunities and cultural events for members who come from a variety of Tech’s master’s and doctoral programs. This semester, BGSA’s schedule of events includes several panels and discussions. Connect with the group on Instagram @gtbgsa.
“BGSA gives me a way to connect with other students during this period of isolation,” said second-year Human Computer Interaction master’s student and BGSA president Titilayo Funso. “We share our goals with each other, encourage each other, and share ideas about how to improve the graduate student experience for future Black students.”
Yellow Jacket Flying Club (YJFC)
Established in 1945, YJFC is the nation’s oldest continuously running collegiate flying club. The club has a fleet of four Cessna 172 aircraft that are available to all of its members. After taking the necessary precautions, which include regular sanitation of common touchpoints and mask usage in the club offices and on the planes, YJFC has remained open and active during the pandemic.
"Our group has been an incredible student organization for discovering more about aviation and all aspects of flight operations,” said Alec Liberman, third-year Aerospace Engineering bachelor’s student and YJFC President. “From guest speakers at Delta to tours of Atlanta air traffic control facilities, the YJFC allows students — both graduate and undergraduate — to explore a fascinating industry while connecting with like-minded people. For those who wish to earn wings of their own, we offer some of the most affordable flight training in the United States!"
Georgia Tech International Ambassadors (GTIA)
GTIA serves Tech’s international community with events and initiatives that operates by the motto, “bring Georgia Tech to the world and the world to Georgia Tech.” GTIA champions a diverse international culture at Tech, and its membership encompasses 20 nationalities across five continents. Events from the past semester included a virtual trivia night, pumpkin painting, and candle making.
“BlueJeans School of Graduate Studies isn't the most conducive format for community building, so we've been working with the offices of International Education and Graduate Studies to help ease the transition into grad school life,” said Conan Zhao, a second-year Quantitative Biosciences Ph.D. and a member of GTIA’s Outreach Committee. “Being in GTIA has been a chance for me to pay forward all the support the international community showed me when I first started.”
GT-Society of Women Engineers (GT-SWE)
GT-SWE, Tech’s chapter of the National Society of Women Engineers, promotes equity and inclusion in STEM, offers a support system of like-minded individuals, and strives to empower its members with a voice in the industry. Programming is going strong during the pandemic with virtual company presentations, socials, and personal development sessions. GradSWE, geared specifically toward grad students, offers funding and networking opportunities as well as virtual events like last semester’s Paint and Sip where members painted together with a shared playlist.
“I’ve been a part of GradSWE for four years, and I’ve consistently seen our most vital role as being community-building among graduate students,” said Maria Warren, a fourth-year Civil Engineering Ph.D. student and GradSWE president. “It’s especially easy for grad students to become siloed in their research group or department, so we serve as a place for students of all genders to get out of the lab and come together.”