Activities Fair fans student involvement, even in heat

Tricha Gregor/ Office of Student Involvement
The Activities Fair this past Saturday (as predicted on the online preview of this article) was probably not the most memorable hour and a half of any student’s freshman year.
A row of tables is a row of tables.
Peddlers are peddlers, even if they do give away cookies, lollipops and Starbursts — which many groups did.
But the fall Activities Fair on the Gator Quad, nestled between hall meetings and sex talks, between the start of classes and the first (glorious) taste of parental freedom, was more than the run–of–the–mill early fall event.
“In the fifteen minutes I was there, it was pretty lively,” said Sam Moodey, ’11.
Some groups weren’t able to make the fair, like, for instance, the Allegheny Film Union.
Moodey, president of the Allegheny Film Union, skipped out on the event early, despite all the interaction he described as lively.
The paper taped to their table said that it was “too hot,” but their sign hides the sometimes complicated politics apparent behind the scenes in campus groups.
“We left because we weren’t ready,” Moodey said. “We didn’t have a board for the Film Union yet, and we wanted to be able to make an impression on
people.”
Moodey redeemed himself by adding that the Film Union was too preoccupied with upcoming events to have a board in place this early in the year.
Other seniors, whose time has been eaten up by clubs as well as school, reminisce about their freshman year Activities Fair, strolling those same tables.
“It [the Activities Fair] was a good way to check out 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.”
While students should feel free to explore new and previous interests in the beginning weeks of school, they should keep in mind the precarious balance of campus involvement and piling workloads.
“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 Outing Club.”
Likewise, some freshmen don’t seem as optimistic as their uber–involved upperclassmen counterparts were 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 Outing 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.”
Students may have lingered longer, too, as the warm, sunny weather encouraged students to take their time walking through the maze of booths.
If the weather were poor, as it has been previous years, the fair would have been held in the campus center, and space would have been limited.
“I think it’s good that it was outdoors,” Moodey said. “People had the patience to stay and not move out of the claustrophobic set–up.”