Hundreds come together for Rutgers’ annual Involvement Fair
Despite a rainy afternoon, hundreds of students crammed into the Rutgers Student Center and the College Avenue Gymnasium yesterday for the Involvement Fair.
Turnout was very high despite the weather, as students came to check out a range of clubs and organizations, from academic, cultural and religious clubs to sports, greek life and community service-based organizations.
Sheri La Macchia, the office administrator at the Office of Student Involvement, said she worked on coordinating the event for over a month.
“Determining who’s going to go where, how many tables we can fit in certain spaces, that type of thing,” she said.
Four hundred and twenty-two organizations showcased themselves to incoming and returning students this year, she said. She and her colleagues had to organize everything very carefully.
“One of the things that I worked on, which is new this year, is making [the fair] flow better and make the check-in process better,” La Macchia said.
Different categories of clubs and organizations were separated into different color-coded zones to make things easier to find as well as manage, she said.
“This is kind of a new concept here. We tried to make the process easier for the groups,” she said. “Whereas in the past it’s been everybody rushing one table, and it’s been total chaos.”
The fair featured a full performance schedule of student organizations putting on shows, she said. These performances were held on several stage areas set up in the Atrium of the Rutgers Student Center.
“We’ve got The B-boy Club, that’s a little break dancing, and we’ve got several different singing clubs,” La Macchia said.
The Rutgers Swing Dance Club, The Rutgers Belly Dance Troupe and The Rutgers Yoyo Dojo were among the many organizations that performed.
“I think the most important thing is just to give people opportunities to get exposed to different things. A lot of times what happens is people don’t know what’s available,” La Macchia said. “This is a wonderful place for the student organizations to shine, they can make the connections, [and] they can say ‘this is what we’re about.’”
She said changing the location from outdoors at the Voorhees Mall to an indoor setting at the student center and gymnasium took a considerable amount of time and thought.
Student Life wanted to best prepare for possible thunderstorms, and La Macchia said she believed they clearly made the right choice to move the fair indoors.
Stephanie Brescia, a student at the Graduate School of Education, said she also spent the summer planning and organizing the fair.
She said the involvement fair is important because getting involved in different organizations is a big part of students’ careers.
Brescia said she was responsible for organizing the live performance aspect of the involvement fair.
“I’m [excited for] our two emcees from the Cabaret Theatre,” she said. “I’m looking forward to them kind of spicing up the show a little.”
Rob Gross, a School of Engineering first-year student, said he looked into various organizations, including the Robotics Club, the Society for Hispanic Engineers and the Residence Hall Association.
Dmitri Fendis, a School of Arts & Sciences first-year student, said he came to the fair not looking for anything in particular. He said he just wanted to see what the University had to offer in terms of student organizations and greek life.
“We’re mostly just browsing around, but we did see a lot of [fraternities],” he said.
Fendis said he plays soccer and joining either a club or intramural team would appeal to him.
He said the fair was very informative to him overall but that he felt it would have worked a lot better outdoors.
Akul Desai, a Rutgers Business School first-year student said greek life stood out to him. He said that the networking aspect as well as the opportunity to meet new people appeals to him.
“I’m going to be in the business school so maybe one of the business [fraternities],” Desai said.