One of the first decisions new college students make is sometimes which club to join from the plethora that exist, and UCF’s Knights of the RoundTable’s mission is to help students with precisely that.
The advisory council functions as an educational resource and a liaison by offering guidance to Knights who want to become involved on campus and working hands-on with more than 600 registered student organizations. To help bolster their commitment to student engagement, KoRT will be allotted $31,780 this school year, a $2,475 increase from last year’s budget.
“KoRT is very much a behind-the-scenes organization,” said rising senior Kenya Lipplett, student director of KoRT. “But we’re here, and we want students and RSOs to know that.”
Overseen by its parent organization, the Office of Student Involvement, KoRT offers bi-weekly workshops for student leaders, schedules interactive presentations and ensures that RSOs are abiding by UCF policies.
In addition, its funds go toward recognition ceremonies such as Legacy Knight Awards, hosting keynote speakers, large scale events showcasing RSOs, including Opening Night and Club Showcase, and mingling opportunities between RSOs and SGA at Senate Meet and Greets.
“Extracurricular activities are extremely important, especially in college,” Lipplett said. “Employers aren’t just looking at your grades; they’re looking at your overall resume. They want to see what you do outside of the classroom setting as well.”
Lipplett said that finding one’s niche at the second-largest university in the nation can be a tedious and sometimes overwhelming experience. And that is where KoRT steps in.
Among the sea of freshmen entering UCF in 2014 was international and global studies major Lubba Wintzer. During her first year, the now 19-year-old made an appointment with KnightQuest, a one-on-one KoRT consultation service that helps students become active on campus.
“I was lost, just like everyone else,” Wintzer said.
After meeting with a KoRT representative, Wintzer decided to join the KoRT Leadership Development Program, a year-long mentorship that allows students to shadow KoRT executive board members and learn the inner workings of OSI.
Her experience led her to accept a position as leadership coordinator from fall 2015 through spring 2016. Throughout the year, Wintzer organized a medley of workshops for student leaders, with sessions covering event planning tactics to positive lifestyle tips. She said her two years in KoRT taught her why this student-run organization is fundamental to the UCF dynamic.
“KoRT is a student’s first step,” Wintzer said. “Students need to get involved. They need to feel comfortable on campus, and KoRT helps make that happen.”
The executive board comprises 12 students. Eight of the positions, including Wintzer’s, are unpaid and require a minimum of five hours of work per week in the KoRT office, located in the Student Union. The student director works at least 20 hours per week for $9.25 an hour, and the three KnightQuest coordinators work at least 10 hours per week for roughly $10 an hour.
Newly hired KnightQuest coordinator Nanda Mamane said her decision to become a part of the 14-year-old organization was reinforced by its principal mission: to offer guidance and assistance to UCF Knights.
“This is exactly what I want to be doing,” Mamane said. “It’s about having conversations with the students and ultimately helping them become involved.”
Shana Medel is a Digital Producer for the Central Florida Future. Email her at ShanaM@CentralFloridaFuture.com.