Do Whatcha Wanna Do

The fall semester Activities Fair seldom was and will not likely be the most memorable hour and a half of a student’s freshman year. A row of tables is a row of tables. Peddlers are peddlers, even if they do offer free Starbursts (remember: all the good groups do).

But the fall Activities Fair tomorrow from 3 to 4:30 on Gator Quad, nestled between hall meetings and sex talks, between the start of classes and the first (glorious) taste of parental freedom, is more than your run-of-the-mill mandatory (or “suggested,” as they say) early fall event for first year students.

The Activities Fair is a campus-wide opportunity to explore all the weird, intriguing sides of Allegheny student life. Upperclassmen, too, are welcome to join—or re-join—clubs, even if the primary targets for group admissions are freshmen.

“A lot of groups do a whole new contact list for a new year,” said Gator Activities Programming (GAP) President, Natalie Curtis, ’12. She notes that these groups often keep the contact information of their more devoted members.

“It [the Activities Fair] was a good way to check on things I’d never been acquainted with in high school,” said Executive Board Member of GAP, Jodi Apps, ’12. “Amnesty International is one I joined freshman year, and I had never heard of that.”

There are almost 100 groups registered for the fair, so while students should feel free to explore new and previous interests, they should keep in mind the precarious balance of campus involvement with schoolwork.

“Freshman year I probably signed up for 10 or more [groups],” Apps said. “Not everything sticks.”

Not every senior who visited the Activities Fair their first year have spread themselves so thin.

“I just didn’t want to be a part of ‘Jerusalems-R-Us’ or whatever else they had there,” said Chris Bonessi, ’11. “I picked stuff I was interested in during high school, and that was stuff like Ski Club and Outdoor Club.”

Likewise, some freshmen don’t seem as optimistic as their uber-involved upperclassmen counterparts about the possibilities for involvement, especially in a school as academically rigorous as Allegheny.

“The freshmen probably couldn’t handle too many groups while trying to maintain their schoolwork,” said Patrick Kelly, ’14. “Maybe two or three.”

Apps, who claims that this year she is “overloaded” with her involvement in multiple clubs, is nonetheless optimistic about the self-growth campus involvement fosters.

“Signing up for a bunch of clubs is a plus; it gave me an idea of time management,” Apps said.

Other upperclassmen have mixed feelings about their time spent here.

“I signed up for Physics, Society of Art, Ski Club and Outdoor Club [freshman year],” Bonessi said. “I feel really bad about not going to any meetings—why would I sign up and then not go?”

Gators, don’t count this year’s batch of hatchlings out. The perception of freshmen on campus—even among freshmen themselves—is that they are receptive to joining one or multiple clubs.

They might even become the continuing members of the clubs to which you upperclassmen currently belong (or to which you signed up freshman year, and never attended).

“I’m thinking of looking at the Q&A and possibly the Outing Club,” Kelly said. “I think a lot of [freshmen] students are interested in doing something. Everybody I talked to wants to do at least one thing.”

“I think it’s different for all of them,” Apps said. “I saw a lot of intrigue from the students in my peer leading class.”

During the Activities Fair, free prizes will be available for students, and GAP plans on giving out popcorn holders in the shape of megaphones. While GAP doesn’t plan on serving popcorn at the Activities Fair, the popcorn holders can be used for the Movie on the Lawn, featuring “Prince of Persia: Sands of Time” at 9:30 that night on Gator Quad.