By Elise Schoening
It was that time of year again — time for the Student Activities Fair, where almost every club and organization on campus comes out of hiding to recruit new members.
Students from various departments within the College gathered in the pathways on Wednesday, Sept. 2, between the Library and Social Sciences Building to promote their own organizations and learn about the variety of other clubs offered at the College. Most organizations came prepared with food and flyers to hand out to prospective members.
There is a place for everyone at the Student Activities Fair, whether it’s among Greek Life, Student Government or one of the many club sport teams offered at the College. There are also a number of organizations that students may not have been exposed to before —but sometimes involvement in unfamiliar territory can jumpstart life-changing experiences for students.
Junior deaf education and Spanish double major Larissa Yanez urged students at the Activities Fair to join the Deaf-Hearing Connection. Yanez explained that she initially signed up for the club during her freshman year because of her major, and couldn’t be happier with her decision today. The organization has provided Yanez with great career experience and has also been a fun and easy way to get involved in the College community.
“It’s gotten me a lot of connections within the Deaf community and I’ve gained great leadership skills,” Yanez said. She believes that students from other departments could also benefit from joining the club, which allows them “to get a new cultural experience and learn about a group of people they may not know.”
Sophomore history and secondary education major Daisy Tatum encouraged her peers to join the BlackOut Step Team, a creative dance group on campus that allows students to express themselves in a positive and healthy way. Tatum explained that the organization is open to all students and no prior dance experience is needed.
“If you have energy and frustration, this is a great way to get it out,” Tatum said. “Every stomp that you give creates a vibration with someone else.”
The BlackOut Step Team is one of the many organizations here at the College that students may not have been able to experience within their hometowns or high schools.
Quam Nguyen, a junior interactive multimedia major, had a similar experience with fencing.
“Fencing has always been something I’ve been interested in but never had the opportunity to do,” Nguyen said. He is now an active member of the College’s club fencing team. Nguyen says he likes the physical and mental challenges that fencing presents.
With more than 150 organizations on campus, there is sure to be something for everyone. If not, students are encouraged to start their own group on campus. These organizations can prove to be a surprising success.
Such was the case with Alyssa Blochlinger, a senior accounting major. Blochlinger brought the community service organization, Student United Way, to the College last year after going on an alternative spring break trip with the organization.
“We didn’t have this at TCNJ,” Blochlinger said, “so I started it.”
Walking around the Activities Fair can be overwhelming, especially for first-timers, such as freshmen and transfer students. Nevertheless, an hour spent at the Activities Fair amongst the crowed pathways and summer heat is sure to be well-spent. A simple signature added to an email list can lead to a year of growth and new friendships.
After all, the college experience is about so much more than just academics. Almost every student at the fair spoke about the invaluable leadership skills they gained by getting involved on campus.
The Student Activities Fair demonstrates how diverse the College community is and that each student can find a home here if they are willing to step out of their comfort zone and try something new.