Student engagement director challenges incoming class to 'Find your why'

Sean Yoder
August 20, 2018

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Among the coaches and student club leaders at "Be a Part from the Start" at Penn State on Aug. 19 was a more unlikely presenter: Mike Zeman, director of the Student Engagement Network, which helps students find opportunities to be engaged and enrich their academic experience.

Be it through a student organization, an internship, athletics team or a study-abroad experience, Zeman said he believes these experiences aid students in their growth to becoming “awesome citizens.”

The Student Engagement Network motto is less a suggestion and more of a challenge: “Find your why. Start Your Journey.”

“Ask yourself: What is my why?” Zeman asked as he addressed a packed Rec Hall. “Penn State is a place that challenges you to think, but also a place with resources and people to help you discover: Why are you here? What career are you pursuing? What skills do you need for that career? Who are you becoming?"

“Penn State is a place that challenges you to think, but also a place with resources and people to help you discover: Why are you here? What career are you pursuing? What skills do you need for that career? Who are you becoming?”

— Mike Zeman, director, Student Engagement Network

Zeman, who also is a professor of Biology 141, is the first Penn State staffer to address Be a Part from the Start in at least 20 years, according to Student Affairs officials.

"We're so excited to have the opportunity to address incoming students about student engagement," Zeman said. "Our hope is that students participate in opportunities like student organizations, research, volunteerism, arts and performances, internships, service learning, and more. Penn State students are being asked to dig deeper into what they're learning and apply new skills toward their future success."

There are numerous ways for students to connect with the Student Engagement Network to begin “finding their why.”

  • Attend the Student Engagement Expo from 6 to 8 p.m. on Oct. 17 in the HUB. Students can see what their peers are involved in at Penn State and draw inspiration for their own engagement journey.
  • Submit a grant application for the fall 2018 semester, which closes on Friday, Aug. 31. This is a chance for students to receive compensation to help offset the costs of their engagement experience.
  • Apply to be an intern with the Student Engagement Network during the 2018-2019 academic year.
  • Sign up for the student newsletter to keep tabs on the latest engagement news. This monthly publication includes information on engagement opportunities around University Park, what’s going on at the Engagement Space in the HUB, and more.

The Student Engagement Network is a joint initiative between Undergraduate EducationStudent Affairs, and Outreach and Online Education. The mission of the Student Engagement Network is to advance the power of participation by connecting students with experiences that empower them to make a positive impact as citizens and leaders of the world.

For more information about the Student Engagement Network, visit engage.psu.edu or email engage@psu.edu.

Last Updated August 22, 2018