The University’s Office of Student Engagement (OSE) sponsored and hosted the University’s annual Involvement Fair, Wednesday, Sept. 14. The event took place on Shadow Lawn, open to showcasing any and all clubs, on-campus organizations, and school departments to the Monmouth community.
As per the OSE’s guidelines, Monmouth organizations were invited to participate in this year’s in-person involvement fair by reserving tables manned by two representatives of that organization’s executive board. The clubs in attendance were encouraged to bring materials that best highlighted the goal or mission of the club, like fliers, activities, and giveaways.
The Involvement Fair is open to all students; however, it is largely characterized as an event for freshmen or transfer students new to the University. Because of the fair’s wide breadth of inclusion, it is one of the biggest events of the academic school year, one that faculty and staff regularly encourage students to attend.
This sentiment was corroborated by freshman social work major, Lauren Hoogervost, who remarked, “I have a lot of free time outside of the classroom to pursue different extracurriculars, which I feel is purposefully constructed so that people are encouraged to get involved.” Hoogervost emphasized that in addition to faculty being understanding of non-academic responsibilities, her schedule is likewise flexible. “My current schedule allows me the opportunity to involve myself with different things happening on campus.”
While attending the Involvement Fair, Breanna Guinta, a transfer student from Brookdale Community College, commented on the spirit of Monmouth’s community. “Everyone is super welcoming— from professors to students to staff— the people here at Monmouth are cool,” said Guinta. “Joining clubs help with so many aspects of a person’s college experience; it not only connects you to the campus and creates different social circles, but it looks impressive from an academic, post-graduation perspective as well.”
Angelina Esposito, senior criminal justice student and President of the Guardians Club, reflected on her involvement on campus and how it has positively influenced her Monmouth experience. She began, “I remember freshman year one of my professors pushed me to join…By sophomore year I was Vice President, and now, in my fourth year, I am President.” Esposito attributes a significant portion of her success to effort. “It’s easy to move up when you demonstrate commitment and time management,” continued Esposito.
Additionally, Esposito credits the Guardians Club to building her professional network. “The executive board has become a family unit, and what’s even more unique is that we are an all-female run board…It’s interesting since law enforcement is generally male-dominated,” concluded Esposito.
With less COVID-19 restrictions, on-campus organizations hope to bring back greater normalcy to club activities. Sarah George, a sophomore math and education student, explained, “I had joined a few clubs last year, but they weren’t able to do much because of Covid. So, I am really looking forward to rekindling some of my interests this year.”
However, she did also note some personal recommendations she had for the involvement fair in the future. “I wish the fair was less clustered and more spread out so you could easily differentiate clubs, organizations, sports, and Greek life,” started George. She also mentioned advertising as a point of improvement. “Sometimes it’s not that students don’t want to get involved, but they just might not know how when the opportunity finally arises.”
“Clubs are meant for helping people find a community where they belong. I am excited to find my own community,” concluded George.