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Every semester, USC hosts the Involvement Fair. Hundreds of student organizations line the streets with booth. Anyone can just walk up to one of the tables and strike up a conversation with club representatives. This semester was no different. On my way to class today, I skated through the sea of wooden tables, equipped with pristine white umbrellas. After seeing all the clubs prepare their booths, it made me think about my own experience with student clubs.

Pretty much everyone I know is involved in at least some form of student organization. For me, I am involved in CAIS++, or more formally, the Center for Artificial Intelligence in Society’s Student Branch, where I am co-President. CAIS++ is the premier undergraduate artificial intelligence for social good organization. If you so desire, you can read more about us here! Primarily, we work on machine learning projects with an emphasis on social good. Aside from this, we run an introductory, open-source artificial intelligence curriculum, along with other programming intended for undergraduates interested in artificial intelligence.

CAIS++ is one of the things I am most proud of out of all my involvements in college. I got involved with the organization my freshman year. Back then, everything was online, so I had to visit the involvement fair through my laptop. I was a biomedical engineering student at the time, meaning computer science organizations intimidated me. However, I was shocked when the then president of the time had told me that they did not require formal coding or AI experience. In fact, they welcomed applications from a variety of backgrounds. I was instantly hooked and crafted my application. Thankfully, I was accepted into the org and the rest was history.

I’ve grew a lot through CAIS++. It helped me discover my love for computer science, and more importantly artificial intelligence. Its members convinced me to switch to computer science, which was one of the smartest choices in my college career. Plus, CAIS++, among other activities, uncovered my passion for research. Beyond these things, I met one of my closest friends in college, along with becoming friends with a fun group of people interested in similar things to me!

Since I’m in the latter of my co-presidential term, I am preparing for the future of my organization. With that college acceptances coming out, I excited to meet future members of the club once everyone visits campus! Regardless of whether they are interested in my club, whenever I meet a new student, I always encourage them to apply to student organizations. CAIS++ has been an integral part of my college experience and career development. Wherever you all end up, if it’s at USC or at any other university, I cannot recommend students orgs any more!

Jordan Cahoon