Clubs return at in-person Involvement Fair as semester gets underway

A view down the middle of the Campus Center lobby. Tables ringed the first and second floors of the lobby, while another set took the middle of the room.

The Henderson Campus Center was transformed into the Involvement Fair on Thursday, Aug. 24, where more than 100 clubs gathered for the first time since COVID-19 made Allegheny College limit in-person events.

Tricha Young, the Student Life office manager, described the importance of the fair to student life in an email to The Campus.

“The lively setting of the fair provides clubs and organizations an excellent opportunity to showcase their club/organization, recruit new members and network with others,” Young wrote.

The upbeat setting and announcements were provided by student organizations. Hundreds of students enjoyed the refreshments and snacks provided at the fair.

“The line-up includes ASG, GAP, GFC, FSL, Civic Engagement, IDEAS Center student representative and WARC,” Young wrote. “WARC will also provide music during the event.”

Breanna Bowden, ’22, president of Clay Club, talked about the significance the fair has on the student body.

“The fair is a really great way for everybody to meet friends and get involved,” Bowden said. “I found Clay Club when I was a freshman and went to the fair. I just signed up for the email list and fell in love with it right away.”

The success of the fair relied on the preparation done months in advance. Getting in touch with student organizations was an important part of planning the fair.

“The involvement fair is hosted and planned by student life,” Young wrote. “Planning begins early in the summer with organization outreach, and establishing the date of the event. By the end of July, refreshments are ordered and the registration form is prepared.”

The fair is an annual tradition for the school, but there were still obstacles Student Life had to overcome.

“The greatest challenge is the time spent contacting organizations who have not updated their organization information though ASG and/or Student Leadership and Involvement,” Young wrote.

Clubs and organizations are excited about how the fair will positively affect the amount of students who join and participate.

“We’re just hoping to show people who we are and continue to grow in size,” Bowden said. “It is just one of those things that everyone has something to gain from. Even seniors I know still go to the fair.” Heather Amancio, ’23, vice president and treasurer for the Student Art Society, described the significance of the return of the involvement fair for her club.

“Our club is coming from this resurrection stage; we were dormant for a while because clubs couldn’t really meet or do anything,” Amancio said. “The involvement fair is a really good way for clubs to put their name out there, especially since we weren’t able to have it last year. I think the involvement fair is really important for helping people find things that they are passionate about.”

School returning back to normal has given clubs full opportunities to reach new and returning members. Organizations are able to advertise themselves to the student body more with the return of the fair.

“Being able to plan in-person events is a huge deal for most clubs. It’s just so much more exciting to plan something that you know you can go to. There’s so many more options than doing it over Zoom,” Amancio said.

Dean of Students April Thompson commended the fair for its ability to bring the student body back together in an email to The Campus.

“We are happy that we are able to bring back this showcase of the diverse array of clubs and organizations at Allegheny,” Thompson wrote.

Second and first year students enjoyed their first in-person Involvement Fair. Second-year students experienced an online involvement fair last year.

Hussain Minhas, ’24, shared his thoughts about fair and how it will change this semester.

“It’s really fun and welcoming,” Minhas said. “I am excited that there is going to be more stuff to do on campus this semester.”

Similarly, Lindsey Kutz, ’25, commended the fair for its friendly environment.

“I’m really enjoying the social environment at the fair and its nice that there are in person events again,” said Kutz.