Inching out top-spot contenders UCLA and University of Wisconsin-Madison, the University of Michigan now boasts the nation’s smallest ratio of actual students to registered student organizations. According to US News & World Report, the University now maintains an average of only 3 students for every one of its many school-certified clubs, teams, and associations.
“For quite a while, we’ve known how important it is to maintain a good student-to-student organization ratio,” said Provost Martha Pollack. “This report simply confirms that we’ve made good on our promise to promote a rigorous, individualized extracurricular environment in which practically anyone can be the vice president, co-chair, or managing editor of something or other.”
“The research is conclusive,” said educational psychologist Dao-ming Shen, “Smaller student organizations benefit all students by allowing each to pad their résumés with spurious, long-term leadership positions, with minimal time and effort.”
Many students, such as public policy junior Chuck Dempsey, say they’ve benefitted from the large volume of clubs. Dempsey is the president of the Portuguese Club, Manager of the Michigan Journal of Javanese Dance, and Grand Dragon of Residence Hall Association.
Though the low ratio is widely hailed as an indicator of extracurricular quality, some cynics have taken it as proof of lower standards. Yet, the only downside of a lower student-to- student organization ratio, as Shen explained, is that the organization may fail to introduce students to new people, promote teamwork or cooperation, or accomplish much of anything at all.
Regarding how the University achieved such a distinction, Janet Larsson, a spokesperson from the Center for Campus Involvement,explained that the ratio is kept low by ensuring that the only qualifications for being an organization are being the admin of a valid, non-expired umich. edu listerv and “cobbling together” a WordPress site with a mission statement and ‘contact us’ link.
“Beyond that—we really don’t care who registers a student org with MaizePages,” Larsson said. “Until they start asking for money,” she added. “Then, we’ll talk.”
Originally Published: Sept. 2014