First year Hawks Involvement Fair 1

First-year Hawks Flock to Annual Involvement Fair

During every fall at the University, an Involvement Fair is held outside of the student center where clubs, governing bodies, Greek organizations and media outlets set up tables and invite students to break out of their shells and join something new.

However, it is not every year that 800 students show up and Student Activities actually runs out of tables because there are so many clubs that want to participate.

Although the actual amount of active clubs at the University varies week-to-week, said Megan McGowan, Assistant Director of Student Activities, 74 clubs out of the 80orso showed up with their flyers, homemade cookies, Frisbees and balloons to the annual Involvement Fair last Wednesday.

Some of the many clubs and organizations that were present at the Involvement Fair were the International Club, the Monmouth Review, the Community Service Club, the Ice Hawks, the Study Abroad Club and the National Council of Negro Women.

McGowan said that the number of students who show up for the fair grows every year, but this year she attributes some of the success to the fact that Hawk TV brought DJ Chris Spirito to play some dance favorites for students as they curiously strolled about.

Susan Damaschke, Coordinator of First-Year Student Retention, said, “I am overwhelmed. It’s so incredibly impressive how many students and clubs came out today.”

She said that the high attendance rate could be due to clubs being more forward and assertive with interested students and are actually going up to them, instead of waiting for students to come up to their booths and grab some extra pens and cookies.

Kyle Reinhardt, President of the Outdoors Club, said that he is very satisfied with the number of interested members that showed up to his club’s table and he is happy that they actually had to keep students waiting because there were so many that wanted to talk to members and find out what their club is all about.

“At the Involvement Fair, students get to meet the members of the Outdoors Club and they can see for themselves that it’s a great time,” Reinhardt said. “It’s much more interesting than what you see on a piece of paper, and seeing all our members climbing the trees and playing the games gives them that extra push to want to join.”

At the Outdoors Club table, members had a tightrope and corn hole, and they were giving out Frisbees made from recycled plastic.

First year Hawks Involvement Fair 2However, the Outdoors Club was not the only one that wanted to get their potential members involved with their activities right away.

Geoff Hipschman, Yoga Club President, said, “We are incorporating all types of yoga out here on the grass by our table that students can do in their dorm rooms. We are also telling them some of the benefits of yoga, such as increased flexibility and the alleviation of stress.” 

As Hipschman did yoga on the grass, Elenia Maltas, Yoga Club Secretary, was hula hooping alongside. Hipschman said that last year the club got 75 signatures at the fair and 25 steady members as a result, so he is hoping that the 130 signatures this year lead to the same result.

“We are both seniors, so we are hoping that freshmen will carry the club on after we have graduated,” Maltas said.

Rob Campbell, a sophomore, said that he attended the fair because he has lots of time to kill in between classes, which is one of the many reasons why students want to get more involved in campus activities. He said that he signed up for three clubs and plans to be an active member in all of them.

Ashley Scheines, a junior, is a new student to the University who said she heard the music playing and wanted to see what was going on.

“I’m glad I came to the Involvement Fair and I got to see what this University was all about,” she said. She added that she signed up for one club and is excited to become an active member.

Genevieve Fasano, Italian Club Co-President, said, “I like the Involvement Fair because it’s a great way to get the word out about our club. Not too many people even know about it, so we are giving out some homemade cookies and stickers and telling them about our upcoming events and meetings.”

Currently, the Italian Club has 120 members and got 25 signatures during the fair. Fasano said that she is excited to revamp the club this year and already the signatures are making it look very promising.

McGowan said, “Students always have the intention of getting involved, but they don’t always make the time to get out there and see the clubs. By having the fair, we are bringing the clubs to them and making it more accessible.”

Damaschke said that she sees the fair as a win-win for everyone.

“By getting involved, students build connections to the University that continue on after they graduate, gain time management skills which helps make them more accountable, and improve their networking and leadership skills,” she said.

Damaschke also said that Student Activities is currently putting together a list of all the clubs, their meeting times and days to distribute so that commuter students can look at the list and go to club meetings that fit their schedules.

McGowan also said that in the future they hope to have another fair in January to further students’ participation in clubs.