The Influence of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Extracurricular Involvement and College Fulfillment of Emory University Students | Nicole Felix-Tovar


This research aimed to explore how the COVID-19 pandemic affected the extracurricular involvement and college fulfillment of Emory University undergraduate students. Using the methodological approach of ethnography, I interviewed five students about their experiences pre-pandemic in which they positively associate the social and personal development aspects of being involved with college fulfillment. I found that students, while not statically unfulfilled in their college experience between the pandemic period of March 2020 to August 2021, all did, feel unfulfilled to varying degrees. Students also generally identified Emory-related pressures when reflecting on the quantity of their involvement while recognizing that the pandemic affected the opportunities available for involvement. Since August 2021, students appreciate the newfound online/in-person hybrid extracurricular culture.  

1. Introduction 

1.1 Background 

The World Health Organization registered COVID-19 as a pandemic on March 11th, 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic elicited responses from college students worried about how the transition to online learning, living away from home and/or being restricted from campus life, would impact their college experience. At Emory University two articles in The Emory Wheel were published regarding clubs.  

A student Staff Writer for The Emory Wheel wrote, “since the beginning of the fall semester, clubs have been finding ways to make the most of events they are able to host despite the limitations posed by virtual programming, at times being forced to move away entirely from their traditional events” (Deuskar 2020). Students expressed the difficulty of suddenly shelving work of events in the transition to a virtual setting.  

In the same article, interviewed Emory students expressed physical and mental health concerns: “We know how severe COVID is… our health is more important than anything in the club” and “I know that no one really wants to be on more Zoom meetings… we are all lonely. We are all working so hard in school and we want cooking Club [sic] to be a break for people” (Deuskar 2020).  

Another article detailed the 2020 creation of an Emory club chapter of Unmasked, an app focused on creating an anonymous safe space and supportive community for college students to share their feelings. This chapter didn’t expect to be fully virtual, but Emory students still aimed to support fellow students “rattled by a pandemic that has completely overturned the traditional college experience, [enduring] significant levels of stress” (Mottley 2020).  

Research about extracurriculars and their relationship to student backgrounds, development,  competencies, and skills are significant. Starting at least 35 years ago, research continues to be done from different angles. The student involvement theory explains that the “greater the student’s involvement in college, the greater will be the amount of student learning and personal development” (Astin 1984).  

More recent studies relate extracurricular involvement to student backgrounds, time availability, academic performance and satisfaction, job performance after college, and psychosocial development. College student participation in extracurriculars is associated with satisfaction in the overall college experience and job market preparation (Strapp & Farr  2009; Kim & Bastedo 2016). It has been established that “more involved students reported greater development in moving through autonomy toward interdependence and establishing and clarifying purpose,” alluding to the question of student fulfillment (Foubert & Urbanski 2006). College students attribute their past opportunities for growth to their involvement in extracurricular activities (Buckley & Lee 2018). 

1.2 Topic Rationale and Positionality

Despite there being significant research on the influence of extracurriculars on college students’ lives, previous research on the topic is not rooted in anthropology. The use of scaled surveys has allowed for valuable research on this topic, but the lived experiences of students have largely been left out of this research. Sociocultural anthropologies centers these aspects of the student experience. So, further insights can be garnered from in-depth ethnography. 

As a current undergraduate student at Emory, the COVID-19 pandemic negatively affected my extracurricular involvement and college fulfillment. As the COVID-19 pandemic quickly changed the way we live our lives, I place involvement in extracurricular activities, an important aspect of my college and overall life, on the back burner- hence my interest in exploring the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the involvement and fulfillment of students at my college, Emory University. My position as a student belonging to this community, my extracurricular interests, and my observations throughout the pandemic motivated me to learn more. My background as a STEER Team Member, where I worked to support students, help them become more involved, and manage their involvement on campus also provided me some insights into Emory students’ attitudes about extracurriculars, levels of involvement, aspirations, and more. I knew that the pandemic had made a significant impact on other students. 

1.3 Research Aim

Thus, my ethnographic research investigates a central question: How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected Emory undergraduate students’ extracurricular involvement and college fulfillment? Furthermore, to understand if students associate “involvement” with extracurriculars, students will be asked to reflect on what “being involved” and “being fulfilled” means to them. Students will also be asked to reflect on fulfillment in the context of their overall college experience. These reflections will be used to investigate the relationship between extracurricular involvement and overall college fulfillment. To assess changes in fulfillment, the students will reflect on the quantity and quality of their extracurricular involvements pre-pandemic (before March 2020) to the pandemic period of March 2020-August 2021 and then the pandemic period of August 2021 onwards?    

2. Methodology  

My research was ethnographic. I interviewed five undergraduates about their extracurricular experiences and college fulfillment pre-pandemic and during two specific periods of the pandemic.1 I attended two Emory General Body Member (GBM) meetings to conduct an observation of students leading and participating in extracurricular activities.    

3. Findings  

The participants I interviewed generally defined “fulfillment” at Emory in the same terms.  Sophomore Catherine (age 19, from Houston, Texas) described fulfillment as having a “normal life balance, having fun, and living life, because if you can’t balance being social with school, then it’s all difficult  to enjoy.” She expressed the importance of being social and creating connections to her overall college experience, predicting that it will prove to be useful when getting a job in the future. Freshman Nicholas (age 18, from Miami, Florida) expressed the same aspiration of fulfillment that “building a big network system of peers and faculty, faculty being the most important” would bring. Emory senior Robert’s (age 21, transfer student, from Paterson, NJ) response was almost exactly like Nicholas’s, focused on “making  friends and getting ready for a future career.”  

Elizabeth (age 20, from Boca Raton, Florida) and Ashleigh (age 22, from Denver, Colorado), junior and senior, respectively, defined fulfillment through different facets. While Catherine, Nicholas, and Robert reflected on fulfillment briefly, Elizabeth and Ashleigh’s elaboration still included aspects of the others’ responses.  

Ashleigh defined fulfillment as “academic, social, and personal growth.” She expressed that “the big thing about Emory, specifically the prestige of Emory, is that the connections you make with people is [sic] a big thing. The alumni base is huge, and opportunities are opened just through there. And coming from a white background, I have felt myself expand as a person through the people I have met. Being social has expanded my palate! This is likely because I am friends with many Chinese Americans. And personally, college has helped me figure out how to navigate the world. It’s my first time away from Colorado and my parents, first time having a boyfriend, and I know what my strong suits and shortcomings are. These experiences help me define what fulfillment looks like to me.”  

In the same vein of “expanding as a person,” and figuring out how to “navigate the world,”  Elizabeth explained how she has grown and changed from experiences in college, whether from “writing a paper or giving a presentation or laughing with friends in the middle of the night – all things that contribute to an Elizabeth 2.0.”   

Elizabeth defined involvement as “doing things that may be in some way related to social or academic life, but peripherally. Clubs shouldn’t stress you out the way that social situations could, or school definitely does. It’s like a third category of life that comes with  responsibility but is still an outlet for expression.” Elizabeth told me that extracurriculars are important to her but expressed frustration at students who get involved only for “résumé  purposes,” or to “look good to future employers.”2 For her, being involved is critical to growing her circle, especially at Emory, where “sometimes it can get divided based on major, socially based on friend groups and cliques, and [being involved] allows [her] to meet more people and encounter more ideas.” Catherine also used the word “outlet” to  describe being a part of clubs and explained that being involved in clubs is “very important in making friends, learning how to set up meetings, and using her talents.” 

Robert shared with me that being a part of clubs is like a “safe haven,” and having that is what being involved means to him. He also expressed the importance of extracurriculars on a 1-10 scale, giving it a 6, citing academics as much more important. Nicholas gave extracurriculars a “10/10,” exclaiming enthusiastically that they love to be busy (to a  healthy extent). They feel that simply going to events, even if they are not a part of the club hosting the event, is what makes them feel involved at Emory. 

For Ashleigh, involvement is synonymous with extracurriculars, and being involved is very important to her, especially as a previous student at Oxford College. Ashleigh explained  to me the differences in being involved at Oxford versus Emory, emphasizing that she “felt involved enough on campus at Oxford just by being there because of the small community—everyone knew what was going on no matter what clubs you were involved in.” She continued by offering that “at Emory, you need to be involved in clubs to be socially fulfilled. It’s just harder to get to know people in big classes, so you have to put in effort.”  

For Ashleigh, it became critical to her social life and fulfillment at Emory College to be involved, being an Oxford continuee. The dynamic between extracurricular involvement and college fulfillment began to become clear: being involved equates to a more vibrant social life and personal development for Emory students3

3.2 Dynamic between Extracurricular Involvement and Fulfillment 

When asked the question “How to do extracurriculars factor into your fulfillment at Emory?”  Robert explained that “being involved, for example as an Executive Board Member, allows me to do something that I like to do at a more significant level.” Ashleigh also expressed a sense of achievement, this time due to an off-campus extracurricular influenced by Emory. She told me that “the opportunity of being an Intern at the International Rescue Committee couldn’t have happened without being an Emory student, and it has supplemented my academics by putting concepts I’ve learned in class into action.” For Ashleigh, seeing work coming together is fulfilling.  

Nicholas answered that through extracurriculars, the achievement of making new friends factors positively into their fulfillment at Emory. Similarly, Catherine explained that as a  Latina, being involved in the Latinx Student Organization and helping to plan events “fulfills [her] in that she is creating spaces for Latinx students on campus.” And Elizabeth corroborated, specifying that extracurriculars make her feel more fulfilled not just as a student, friend, or daughter but as a person.  

In addition to being an opportunity for personal development and social growth, the participants I interviewed all expressed positivity and a sense of achievement that is attached to fulfillment brought on by being involved in extracurriculars. Yet,  interestingly, only when asked the question of how extracurriculars factor into their college fulfillment did the participants associate a positive relationship.  

3.3 Extracurricular Involvement and Fulfillment Pre-Pandemic (before March 2020) 

In order to investigate changes in involvement and fulfillment due to the pandemic, I needed to establish a benchmark for comparison. In this section of the interview, I asked students to reflect on the quantity and quality of the extracurriculars they were involved in pre-pandemic, their level of fulfillment in them, and their effect on their college (or high school, if applicable) experience.

Elizabeth, then a freshman, was involved in one club, the literary magazine Lullwater Review, during this time. She explained that connecting with upperclassmen helped her feel connected to her peers, sharing the anecdote that “she felt seen and appreciated by a  Co-Editor who remembered also joining the club after attending the [semesterly] student  activity’s fair.” This shared experience helped her find her place in the Emory community as a whole.  

Despite feeling involved just being a student at Oxford, Ashleigh, then a sophomore, was involved in two clubs (the Board of Public Health Club and Honors Society), one work-study job, and a research program. Ashleigh explained that she enjoyed targeting public health issues on campus, including a mold issue in one of the dorms, and getting to know faculty and staff throughout all her involvements. She stated that she “definitely felt  fulfilled because [she] met people everywhere who always said hi.” This further emphasizes the social growth and fulfillment that involvements offer these students. 

Robert, then a sophomore at Houston Community College before his transfer to Emory, was an Intern at the World Affairs Council of Greater Houston and a Medical Scribe. Both extracurriculars were outside of campus, and he expressed that he “didn’t have time and  wasn’t interested in being involved at the community college because [he] was a commuter and had no incentive to be involved.” This sentiment echoes a previous study on extracurriculars and live-at-home college students that found that after-school activities, while beneficial to “human capital development” may have an unintended effect due to students’ substitution away from educational pursuits (Crispin & Nikolaou 2017). This is consistent with Robert’s specific experience, feeling that his academics are much more important than extracurriculars.  

Catherine and Nicholas, both high schoolers before March 2020, were both heavily involved in various high school honors societies, service clubs, and volunteering opportunities both in school and outside of school. Both former high schoolers explained that being involved in high school bolstered their fulfillment, and they expected to become involved in extracurriculars in college as well.  

3.4 Change in Extracurriculars and Fulfillment between March 2020 and August 2021 

To qualify changes in student involvement and fulfillment compared to pre-pandemic, I asked students similar questions regarding the quantity and quality of their involvement, as well as the corresponding effect on their college experience. The specific period of time in the pandemic students reflected on was March 2020 to August 2021. 4

Elizabeth, then a sophomore residing at home, joined the history-related Franklin Fellows club. She felt that before joining this club, she “wasn’t able to get intel about it or talk to people like [she] would if she saw someone in the cafeteria, and there  was no information session when [she was] welcomed into the club.” Additionally, as the pandemic continued and Lullwater Review members realized that they were not going to  meet in person anytime soon, Elizabeth noted, “attendance started to drop when it wasn’t a novelty anymore.” Since Elizabeth became promoted to Managing Editor, she decided to try her best to be interested and make something of it. And for the students who did not drop the club, she felt that Zoom actually allowed them to become closer. She shared the following anecdote: “Before the pandemic, we would sit in a classroom and all face the Co-Editors at the board while we talked about the poems. On Zoom, I actually saw everyone’s  faces, which had allowed me to attach them to comments and opinions.” When I asked what the significance of this change was, Elizabeth offered, “Lullwater Review is a different experience from, say, volunteering, because it is a club based on producing something based on opinions. Expressing is a part of the success of the club and attainment of goals.” Volunteering clubs or other clubs with a higher number of members may have found it difficult to engage so many students over the Zoom platform, especially because the content of their work is less opinion and expression-based. 

Robert, then a junior transfer student at Emory, explained that it was very hard for him to become involved. He became involved in one club, the Emory Synapse club, but felt “the same as when [he] was a commuter. [He] felt bad that everything was online and didn’t feel a social incentive to attend things online.” As a transfer student, Robert lived on campus at Emory from August to December of 2020 but moved back home for the second semester of his junior year due to the lack of connections and involvement the pandemic caused. He stated that he “felt unfulfilled because [he] could not do the extracurriculars [he] was looking forward to.” He ended up dropping his involvement in the Emory Synapse club soon after joining.  

Nicholas, then a senior in high school, explained that “fulfillment in the high school experience and club involvement changed a lot”. They explained that “Zoom fatigue” (being tired of attending Zoom meetings, classes, etc. for so long) significantly decreased attendance to the clubs that so many students were passionate about when they were operated in person. Everything pretty much became inactive, and “exciting events were not  as exciting for [them] online.”  

Catherine, who became a college freshman during this time, expressed her frustrations: “I  would go to interest meetings all on Zoom and just they felt like presentations. I would’ve been more involved if there wasn’t a pandemic my freshman year; I didn’t get to meet many people. This affected my fulfillment because if I made friends, it was by chance.” Like Robert, Catherine also did not see a social incentive in being involved with online extracurriculars.  

Ashleigh, an Oxford College Continuee who became a junior supposed to be on-campus at  Emory College, felt that she had to work extra hard to find a community. She had only known Oxford College students and did not have experiences on Emory’s campus. Yet she tackled the virtual transition with optimism, saying “it wasn’t too big of a deal because finals came and transitioning to being at home randomly was a lot. It was less to worry about! And I was able to reflect and appreciate my experiences from before the pandemic.” Additionally, to foster connections, she joined the Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity. The small, tight-knit group of students allowed her to get to know other people more closely. The principles of Alpha Phi Omega include Leadership, Friendship, and Service, this club still offered fulfillment to the members involved, including Ashleigh. Ashleigh also became a Vaccine Clinic Volunteer at the Northlake Vaccine Clinic, which she explains “obviously would not have been an opportunity without the pandemic, but despite all the hardship, it allowed me to give back. It was very fulfilling.” Lastly, she emphasized how Zoom made some opportunities possible that otherwise wouldn’t be during the pandemic: “I was an intern at the Emory Marcus Autism Center through the Super Better program. Despite it being over Zoom, I was still able to interact with kids and help them practice social skills. I wouldn’t have been able to do this in-person because of the pandemic and because of the amount of travel time it takes to get there and back.”  

3.5 Extracurriculars and Fulfillment after August 2021 

The pandemic post-August 2021 enabled most, if not all, Emory undergraduates to return to campus. This new period allows for more in-person opportunities, but still restricted and not as widely available as pre-pandemic. Thus, I asked students again about the quantity of their extracurriculars, their fulfillment, and their corresponding effect on their college experience during this time. Additionally, they were all asked if they felt “under-involved,” to which all students responded in comparison to their peers. 

Now a senior, Robert became a Volunteer Coordinator of the Project Downtown Atlanta Club and a Board Member for the Public Relations Committee of the Muslim Student  Associations club. As for the quantity of involvement, he was involved in zero on-campus clubs at his community college, dropped one club during the pandemic at Emory, and now recently became a leader in two clubs. He shared with me that the process of joining new clubs became easier because “getting an impression of what a club is about and getting to know them in person versus on Zoom is drastically different.” Robert became more fulfilled, yet, notably, now only attends classes virtually over the Zoom platform at times, an experience different from fellow participants who all experience their extracurriculars through a hybrid of in-person events and online events. Robert also feels that he is involved at just the right amount for his liking, although he may seem under-involved compared to his classmates who may be involved in “ten different things.”  

Now a junior at Emory, Elizabeth feels that coming back to school in person has made her busier. For her, setting priorities is a balancing act. She has “become less fulfilled in her extracurriculars because [she is] busier and has less attention and energy for it.” Like  Robert, she also is “not doing fifteen clubs, but sometimes feels like [she] should be because of Emory-related pressures.”  

Now a freshman at Emory, Nicholas is focusing on their academics while being grateful for the opportunity to be involved again. They assist Queer Emory events, and they explained that “the new hybrid culture is a positive thing. There are good aspects of using Zoom and in-person events in a club. Planning is good to do over Zoom, but painting is  better to do in person.” Catherine, who is now involved in a total of four clubs including the Latinx Student Organization, agrees: “if everything was in person like it was before the pandemic, it would be a lot. Zoom meetings online for clubs are manageable to join. If you have a class at six but need to assist a meeting until six, you can do it online. It just helps me make it to things. But I still definitely prefer events in person.”  

Like Catherine, Ashleigh, now a senior at Emory, stated that the new hybrid culture works for her. “It’s been positive mostly, helps things be more flexible. Sometimes you just don’t want to go in person and it’s a lot of work to do that!” she shared. Yet, she admits that she does feel more fulfilled by in-person interactions: “Having APO [Alpha Phi Omega] in person is different than online. Having a face-to-face conversation allows for more  bonding.” And when asked if she feels under-involved, interestingly, she responded with a  firm “No. I feel like I’m doing the most, being pulled into a billion directions. Next semester I’m taking the bare minimum credits, not continuing my internship, and not running for  Executive Board positions.” While the flexibility of hybrid culture has allowed Ashleigh to have more flexibility with her time, being involved in too many things may be pushing her feeling of fulfillment to burnout. 

Most participants, excluding Robert, felt that the hybrid in-person/online extracurricular is beneficial to their fulfillment in college.  

3.6 Participant Observation of General Body Meetings 

To round out my research, I also attended two club General Body Meetings to observe club operations and student interactions.

3.6.1 History Club  

The president of the Emory History Club held his first General Body Meeting over Zoom.  Lasting about 15 meetings, the mood was casual and welcoming.  

As there were only two potential new members who joined the meeting, it became a discussion of sorts. The president explained that he hoped the club would become a “social, academic, and semi-professional environment. It would be great to create opportunities to facilitate connections with professors, networking opportunities for mentorship, and have history-based movie nights.” The participants and president, all history majors, then chatted about professors in the department who could be enthusiastic about the goals. The president explained that if the attendees were interested, they could apply to become a part of the executive board of the club.  

The initial goals of this club align with the social and pre-professional values that the students I interviewed associate with college fulfillment. The participants of the Emory History Club’s first General Body Meeting seemed to be receptive and focused on what students would benefit from being involved.  

3.6.2 Neurotech @ Emory Club 

Like the History Club, the Neurotech @ Emory Club is a new club. This club, however, hosted its first GBM in a hybrid fashion; I observed in-person.  

Throughout the meeting, the six in-person attendees watched the Co-Presidents present information about the goals, plans, and opportunities for involvement in their club. Notably, the five students on Zoom had their cameras off, thus only their names were present on the screen.5 When I asked one of the Co-Presidents why they decided to host the meeting both in-person and over Zoom, he seemed to relate to what the students I interviewed feel: “we held the meeting both ways in case someone couldn’t make it in-person; it’s always a busy time so we wanted to make it accessible.” One in-person attendee asked a question at the end of the meeting, but none of the Zoom attendees asked questions.  

Also notable, the Co-Presidents leading the meeting as well as their fellow Executive Board  Members seemed to be excited to present the bonding opportunities their club would offer.  They said, “a way you can get involved is by going to our hike and picnic at Stone Mountain. We really want to collaborate and grow the community on campus.” Like the foundation of the History Club and values of the students I interviewed for this research, camaraderie and socializing is imperative to the fulfillment of club members. 

4. Implications 

The insights I gathered through my ethnography provided a nuanced answer to my central research question. 

First, the data I gathered shows that Emory undergraduates, when asked, can describe what  “involvement” and “fulfillment” in college means to them. Not only can students describe these sentiments, but they also generally define them in similar terms. This research can further inform the 1984 student involvement theory, in which an “involved student” is defined as one who participates actively in student organizations and interacts frequently with faculty members and other students (Astin 1984), both qualities that the students I interviewed embody and express. 

The students I interviewed cited social (networking and friends) and personal (strengths and weaknesses) aspects as catalysts for self-improvement that they associate with feeling fulfilled. These aspects were intentionally incorporated into the History Club and Neurotech @ Emory Club’s goals and purposes. They valued the impact of extracurriculars on their social lives and therefore their overall college experience. Moreover, extracurriculars are intertwined with the social dimension of students’ college experience. These students associate “involvement” with extracurriculars and can express how their extracurriculars affect their college fulfillment. Important to note, however, is that when first asked to reflect on fulfillment, the students did not explicitly say that their involvement in clubs or extracurriculars is an aspect of what makes them feel fulfilled. It was upon further reflection that students naturally represented their definitions of fulfillment through the positive social and personal experiences that extracurriculars bring them.

Pre-pandemic, most students felt fulfilled by their levels of involvement and extracurriculars. 

The pandemic affected students’ extracurricular involvement and college fulfillment. Most participants experienced unfulfillment to varying degrees. Catherine and Robert experienced uninvolvement. Nicholas experienced letdowns and newfound club inactivity. Elizabeth and Ashleigh experienced difficulties throughout the pandemic as well, but they felt comparatively less unfulfilled than other participants due to the nature and number of members of the clubs they were a part of during this time. The nature of a club (creative versus volunteering) and the number of active members (relatively fewer), coupled with changes brought on by the pandemic either negatively or positively influences the fulfillment of members involved. Zoom was acceptable, though not ideal, substitute for in-person events for certain clubs, specifically those creatively focused (Lullwater Review) ones and/or those with a smaller number of active members (Alpha Phi Omega). Notably, Ashleigh felt fulfilled by the rare in-person opportunities still available during the pandemic. 

As the pandemic continues some changes brought on by the pandemic have remained, namely the use of Zoom. While not all students I interviewed experience a hybrid in-person/online culture post-August 2021, some students find flexibility and accommodation in it. Reduced travel time factored positively into students’ time management. Both clubs I observed utilized Zoom. 

As for the quantity of involvement and students’ attitudes towards it, they all felt under-involved after returning to campus due to “Emory-related pressures” in comparison to fellow classmates. The term “under-involvement” implies that there is an “appropriate” amount of involvement, which is subjective and personal to each student, aside from external pressures or expectations that they expressed. While the students I interviewed were involved to the extent they were capable and comfortable, they expressed periods of burnout when they exceeded their capacity for involvement. This implies that students experience a learning curve in understanding what balance between extracurriculars and other aspects of their lives feels like to them. This learning curve is not immune to self-comparison and commenting on others’ experiences, despite choices for involvement being personal to each student. Emory students are influenced and pressured by others’ levels of involvement, affecting their own college experiences. 

Opportunities and quality of extracurricular involvement during the pandemic were inconsistent. All students felt unfulfilled at some point but the depth and duration of this sentiment varied. 

5. Conclusion  

The pandemic transformed students’ lives. The transition online caused fatigue and decreased levels of fulfillment, yet the experience of being online has given students flexibility and accommodation during this hybrid portion of the pandemic. I presented examples of two student clubs that still use Zoom during this time despite them being able to meet in person.  

Students’ extracurricular involvement and college fulfillment did not remain stagnant. Both aspects changed as the pandemic progressed. While students have similar experiences, more research is warranted to dissect underlying factors that may have also influenced their involvement and college fulfillment. 


  1. One challenge in collecting data for this research was scheduling interview timeslots with busy college students. This is representative of the nature of this research topic, as all the participants students currently involved in extracurriculars, some with work-study jobs, and all with academic obligations.
  2. My findings were not able to explain whether the students’ pre-professional status coupled with the large pre-professional culture at Emory influences certain students to join clubs, or not. While the allusion to joining clubs for the purpose of résumé-building was made during an interview, this connection is still unclear.
  3. As there are hundreds of student clubs and organizations at Emory as well as many different possibilities for extracurriculars, I did not completely represent all the different involvements of Emory students in this research paper.
  4. Another challenge was appropriately pressing interviewees to elaborate on their responses. To respect the comfort levels of the students in sharing their experiences was very important to me, so I mainly just asked for clarification on their responses to protect their wellbeing.
  5. During the hybrid participant observation of Neurotech @ Emory, I was unable to assess the experiences of students who attended through Zoom. This may be representative of the Executive Board Members’ concerns as well.


Astin, A. (1984). Student Involvement: A Development Theory for Higher Education.  Journal of College Student Development. 40. 518-529. 

Buckley, P. & Lee, P. (2018). The impact of extra-curricular activity on the student experience. Active Learning in Higher Education. 22. 

Christison, C. (2013) “The Benefits of Participating in Extracurricular Activities.” BU Journal of Graduate Studies in Education 5, Issue 2. 

Crispin, L. & Nikolaou, D. (2018) Work and play take school time away? The impact of extracurricular and work time on educational time for live-at-home college students, Applied Economics, 50:24, 2698-2718. 

Deuskar, T. “Clubs Adapt to Long-Term Remote Programming Ahead of Spring  Semester.” The Emory Wheel, 30 June 2021, to-long-term-remote-programming-ahead-of-spring-semester/. 

Foubert, J.D., & Urbanski, L.A. (2006). Effects of Involvement in Clubs and Organizations on the Psychosocial Development of First-Year and Senior College Students.  NASPA Journal, 43, 166 – 182. 

Kim, J., & Bastedo, M. N. (2016). Athletics, clubs, or music? The influence of college extracurricular activities on job prestige and satisfaction. Journal of Education and  Work, 30(3), 249–269.  

Mottley, K. “Club Seeks to ‘Unmask’ Stigma Surrounding Mental Health.” The Emory Wheel, 9 Sept. 2020. surrounding-mental-health/. 

Strapp, C. & Farr, R. (2009) To Get Involved or Not: The Relation Among Extracurricular  Involvement, Satisfaction, and Academic Achievement, Teaching of  Psychology, 37:1, 50-54.

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