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If you happened to walk through Mantor hall in the past few weeks, you may have noticed something unusual... read more

Nontraditional Students Organization forms at UNK
Nate Britton
Antelope Staff
Photos by Nate Britton
For more information on how to get involved, contact Victor Garcia at garciav1@unk.edu.

UNK campus had never seen a Nontraditional Students Organization before spring of 2009. However, the organization is now in place to help people who will find college life hard to balance with their everyday lives.

Students who have children and full-time jobs may find taking class at UNK a little more stressful than the traditional student who only has to focus on college. The organization plans to help make the transition into a studious life a little easier for the nontraditional student.
The organization will help older students who don‘t know their way around campus find their classes, locate events going on around campus, locate services that UNK provides and any other assistance they might need.

“I hope that putting this student organization together will help older students gain a support system from other students that are involved in the organization,” said Victor Garcia, a Spanish translation and interpreting major with an emphasis in medical interpreting from Grand Island and the president of the Nontraditional Students Organization.

“A traditional student is someone who goes to college right after high school and graduates within four years,” Garcia said. “The organization is in place to help those students that didn’t follow that path.”

“The biggest challenge so far is getting the organization to be recognized among our peers,” Garcia said. “People have to realize that it exists before they can understand why it exists.”

Most nontraditional students leave campus right after class because they have other responsibilities to take care of. They don’t have the luxury of taking a stroll around campus like their younger peers.

“I think it is hard to find nontraditional students because they go from class to work or picking up their kids and really don’t know much about what goes on around campus,” Garcia said. “That’s why I thought it was such a pleasure to be involved in the Student Organization Fair. It really helped get the name of the organization out there.”

The organization is young and doesn’t have a lot of members, but it is growing on a daily basis. Garcia says every person who joins is another way to get the word out. “I think the Nontraditional Students Organization is a great way for older students to meet other students of the same age. In other words, we can have a little community of our own to be involved in,” said Garett Hoffman, a telecommunication management major from Kearney and vice president of the organization.

“I love that we now have legitimacy, and that helps us use UNK’s resources which allows us to network a whole lot more than in the past,” Hoffman said, “I just hope after I am gone, the future students will take over our jobs and keep this community going, because the possibilities are endless.”

Many students involved in the organization and on the board will graduate by the summer of 2010. This makes it urgent for the board members to find other students to take their positions when they leave. Their main concern is getting the group completely up and running before the current board graduates.

“My job is to find sponsors willing to make donations as well as put up flyers to get students more acquainted with the organization,” Zack Harbert said. Harbert, an organizational communications major from Omaha, takes care of community outreach. “I see the overall goal being to help older students, new to college, transition from everyday life to college life a little easier,” Harbert said. “Hopefully we increase awareness so much that one day the organization will receive a scholarship or grants to help the older students pay for college.”
There are a lot of ways to look at a student organization, but Harbert hopes everyone will look at this group the same way he does.

“When I think of this organization, I think of it more as a fraternity without all the dues and fees,” Harbert said. “Also we don’t require anyone to live on campus for a year.”

The organization may be just starting to get its legs on the ground, but the board members are determined to have it standing strong before they graduate.

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