A Thousand Ways to Tartan

There's more than one way to live life as a Carnegie Mellon student

At Carnegie Mellon, you can make your experience your own. You have the opportunity to explore different student organizations, majors and classes, clubs and communities as soon as you arrive as a first-year student. It’s possible to remain involved in activities that characterized your high school experience while trying something entirely new or pushing yourself out of your comfort zone.

Our Student Leadership, Involvement, and Civic Engagement (SLICE) office makes it easy for you to get acquainted with our 300+ student-run organizations. In the fall and winter, SLICE hosts a Student Activities Fair where all student-run organizations recognized by student government showcase their organizations and recruit new members. As a first-year student, our wide range of organizations including identity and affinity groups, artistic clubs, professional societies, club sports and gaming orgs let you enjoy student life on your terms.

For some students, the breadth of extracurricular options means they can try something new while pursuing old passions. "I’ve always loved being on stage and expressing myself through music, using either my body or my voice," says Daria, a junior Civil Engineering student and CMU Ballroom Dance Club member. "I started dancing when I was about 3 or 4 and was mainly a contemporary dancer. I had always wanted to try ballroom and was fortunate enough to find the ballroom club. I fell in love with the community right away and have made some of my best friends through being in ballroom." Daria's penchant for dance has led to other opportunities, as she was the Assistant Choreographer for Scotch 'n' Soda's Spring 2019 production of Mamma Mia.

For others, Carnegie Mellon is a supportive place to venture out of their comfort zones. When a soccer teammate suggested she join a psychology research lab, Olivia Brand was conflicted. "To be honest, when I came to Carnegie Mellon I was aware of the research opportunities here, but I never had any interest in getting involved," the sophomore Biological Sciences student says. "I was also hesitant to get involved in research because I had no prior experience, but everyone in the lab has been so welcoming and willing to teach me." Olivia joined the research lab in the second semester of her first year, while also joining the many Tartans who enjoy academic and non-academic experiences in tandem. "My teammates constantly impress me in their ability to balance school and soccer while being successful at both," she says of her team that went to the Final Four in 2019

Through our annual Volunteer Fair, Carnegie Mellon makes it easy to give back to the broader Pittsburgh community. With opportunities to connect with over 50 local nonprofit and campus service organizations, students have the ability to explore their passion for community service, activism or philanthropy. Opportunities are available at every level of engagement for those interested in small-scale service opportunities on campus or for those interested in kick-starting a broader activism project in the Pittsburgh community.

We believe in building a community that supports your social, physical, mental and spiritual well-being, so you can thrive both inside the classroom and on campus. There’s no one path to success here. It’s no secret that Carnegie Mellon students are superb in the classroom, but it’s not the only thing that’s important. Our student organizations are crucial communities that help Tartans share their voices. 

This sense of community was key for Katherine Diaz. "As a first-generation Latina student, Greek life always seemed like something that was inaccessible to me," says the recent Dietrich College grad. "But after feeling the sense of community at Carnegie Mellon, I knew that I could take advantage of any opportunity available. Diversity and inclusion was something that Alpha Chi Omega, and the rest of the Greek community, championed, not only in the inclusion of members of various backgrounds, passions, and interests, but also in the makeup of the leadership board." By the time she graduated in 2020, Katherine had been the president of two large campus organizations and was on her way to a graduate degree from Carnegie Mellon's Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy.

At Carnegie Mellon, our students are able to both shape and explore their academic, personal and extracurricular experiences. You have the tools to create your ideal community here. Are you ready to discover what that community will look like?