BRISTOL, R.I. – While running on the rugby fields during his freshman year, Jason Hall ’18 had an idea: start a paintball club at RWU.
To make it happen, Hall’s first move was researching if there was a market for the club. Next, he brought together a group of interested students and networked with owners of local paintball fields. Hall then filed the necessary paperwork with the University. And just like that, with a clear goal of what he wanted to provide and a small team behind him, Hall launched the RWU Paintball Club. Now, after running the club for two years, Hall said he has a taste of what it's like being an entrepreneur. The experience has been crucial to his growth, he said.
Like Hall, many students find that getting involved on the RWU campus often provides key experiences and skills that they can use to secure jobs. These skills can range from project management and leadership to problem solving and teamwork.
Carol Sacchetti, director of Student Programs & Leadership at RWU, often witnesses the development of students who are involved on campus. They discover that their involvement turns out to be more than just fun or something to do, she said. It helps them grow personally and sets them apart professionally, she added.
Hall, for instance, lists his involvement experience as an example of leadership skills on his résumé. “I would love to talk about this journey that I went on [with employers] and everything I’ve learned in the process and how it’s made me the ideal candidate for them,” he said.
By doing so, he will follow in the footsteps of a number of RWU alumni who have already used their on-campus involvement to land a job. Two of them reflect on their experiences here:
Phil Devitt ’09, managing editor at Hathaway Publishing. Involvement: Hawks' Herald, WQRI-FM 88.3.
Devitt said his involvement with the campus newspaper and radio station helped solidify his passion for journalism and fill the time he had between classes. His experience also removed any doubts he had about a career in the field and helped him become more social on campus. “You gain exposure, but you also gain friends and find your own voice in the process.” Most importantly, he said, the experience helped him break into his profession. “My involvement landed me my first job in journalism and subsequently opened a lot of doors after that,” he said. “Some of the real lessons I learned about doing the job came from the long nights at the Hawks Herald and behind the mic at the station.”
Blair Carroll ’13, senior graphic designer at Eataly. Involvement: Campus Entertainment Network, Student Programs & Leadership, Student Senate.
Carroll said her campus involvement allowed her to put into action what she learned in her courses. “My classes taught me all the skills, but [the Campus Entertainment Network] taught me how to be a good employee,” she said. “They created this environment that is very relatable to the real world.” Looking back, Carrol cites the team mentality there and the all-hands-on-deck approach of working on a project with preparing her for the real world. Employers, she said, are looking for well-rounded people who wear multiple hats and understand the strategic goal of a project and how they fit into it. “CEN is very much like that,” she said. “Those experiences have 100 percent helped me get where I am.”
If nothing else, alumni and students feel getting involved on campus adds to the RWU experience. It helps students branch out, try new things, discover their passions, and make lasting connections with the RWU community.
“The amount of people that I’ve had the pleasure of meeting – and the different personalities and characters – it’s amazing on this campus,” Hall, who also runs the Entrepreneurs Club, said. “It’s a really rewarding experience.”