By Grace Gottschling
Students hopeful of finding a group of like-minded peers gathered in the Brower Student Center on Jan. 24 to browse countless rows of tables hosted by student organizations, club sports, greek life and academic fraternities during the spring 2018 Involvement Fair.
The organizations representing the student body’s many interests were diverse and numerous, ranging from political organizations like the College Democrats to sports teams like Women’s Rugby.
Many of the tables included pages of information, photos from events hosted by the organization and decorated poster boards. Some had laptops poised with spreadsheets open for prospective members to fill in their information, and many were scattered with candy, buttons and stickers to draw in curious students.
There was a large turnout this semester, with upperclassmen and underclassmen coming together to represent their groups, as well as to join new ones.
The Involvement Fair is now considered by many to be a great opportunity for both students and organizations to establish relationships, but it hasn’t always been regarded as a positive experience.
Many have found the Involvement Fair to be overwhelming and a bit stressful, especially when it is held in a crowded space that can often be loud and make students feel rushed. The College has attempted to remedy this by moving the fair from the Recreation Center to the Student Center.
Victoria Kiernan, a junior nursing major, and president of the newly established Students for Life club at the College, said the involvement fair helps tremendously with recruitment and awareness.
“There are a bunch of clubs and organizations that new students might not know exist, but here they’re all laid out,” Kiernan said. “I appreciate the opportunity to represent our group at the fair because it is so great to meet new students who are like-minded and respect the dignity of life.”
Kiernan encouraged students to sign a petition to add free on-campus childcare for students, faculty and staff from her post at the the Students for Life table, which was adorned with chocolate Hershey’s kisses, stickers and colorful pamphlets.
Kathleen Zarro, a senior communication studies major, represented community service organization Circle K.
“Our tenants are service, fellowship and leadership, so what we try to do is make service fun,” Zarro said. “We want to make the world a better place one project at a time — we just really want people to enjoy themselves.”
The College’s chapter of Circle K is the largest division in New Jersey.
“We have a lot of turn out here,” Zarro said. “The fair definitely helps us get new members and get new people through the door.”
Austhon Manalac, a junior biology major, values how the involvement fair was able to connect him to student organizations after he transferred to the College last fall.
“I transferred here last semester and coming to the fair was great,” Manalac said. “There were so many organizations I found that really interested me and I got connected to the Filipino club. They’re some pretty great people. If you want to make friends and meet new people, the fair is great for that.”