By Chelsea LoCascio
Unsure students searched through the mass of circus performers, fraternity brothers and environment enthusiasts, wondering which of these groups they will be representing for the remainder of their time at the College.
The biannual Student Activities Fair took place on Wednesday, Feb. 10, from noon to 2 p.m. in the Student Recreation Center. According to swipe data collected through Lion’s Gate, a mix of 574 transfer students, freshmen and upperclassmen attended.
“(The fair) is geared toward all students. (For freshmen), it might be intimidating to come their first semester… or there are upperclassmen just looking for some experience,” Program Assistant for Student Engagement Devan Kowalek said. “I think it gives them out-of-the-classroom experience and a chance to meet people not in their residence hall.”
Despite the sizeable turnout, the spring fair generally receives less attention than the one in the fall, College Union Board (CUB) Stud Chair and junior English major Natessa Mallalieu said.
As one of the more well-known clubs on campus, CUB typically collects 12 pages worth of interested students’ signatures during fall activity fairs, according to Mallalieu. This time, they received only about a quarter of that amount.
“With the midyear fair, you don’t get as many people because you’re inside,” Mallalieu said. “It should be a requirement for all freshmen and transfers to come here.”
CUB’s general board welcomes newcomers to attend their meetings on Wednesdays at 3 p.m. in the Decker Social Space, Mallalieu said.
Also at the fair was the Rebel Art Movement (RAM), a smaller organization that started last semester. This club was responsible for the Arter’s Market on Friday, Dec. 4, in the Art and Interactive Multimedia Building’s courtyard.
During the Arter’s Market, members sold student, faculty and staff’s art and baked goods, according to sophomore graphic design major Zach Paige, who serves as RAM’s faculty liaison. They plan to put together another Market at the end of the Spring 2016 semester, according to Paige.
“We want to promote art on campus and make (the College) have a more artistic feel,” Paige said.
The club, which is meant for more than just art majors, is looking to really “shake things up,” co-President and sophomore fine arts major Kelly King said.
“The campus is pretty cookie-cutter. (Joining RAM) is a good way to get people to think differently,” King said.
RAM’s meetings are more sporadic and are only held when necessary, according to co-President and sophomore fine arts major Molly Revie.
With such a wide array of values, interests and missions, it can be difficult for some students to pick just one of approximately 100 clubs that had a table at the fair. For sophomore communication studies major Jovia Ferris, this fair helped her branch out from the clubs she is already in and seek out new interests.
“Personally, I think (the fair) is a great way to showcase all the clubs and see what’s available,” Ferris said. “I think I can never be a part of too many organizations.”
For students like Mallalieu, joining clubs on campus is more than just a résumé builder or hobby. It is a way to find a place to belong in college.
“A college campus doesn’t start feel like home until (you) get involved on campus,” Mallalieu said.