September 22, 2019 | 69° F

Involvement week kicks off with fair

Photo by Dennis Zuraw |

Shockwave, an a cappella group, performs at the Involvement Fair in September at the Rutgers Student Center on the College Avenue campus. The spring fair will include performances from multiple organizations.

This semester marks the first time Rutgers is splitting the involvement fair into three separate fairs to overcome crowd control problem and provide students with a better overall experience.

Kerri Willson, director of Student Involvement for Rutgers Student Life, said Student Life would organize “Resolve to Get Involved Week” in the Rutgers Student Center on the College Avenue campus and the Livingston Student Center.

“We thought that with three different fairs, we should make a week about getting involved,” she said. “We want the students to see what the opportunities and experiences are that they can have outside of a classroom.”  

Willson said this new idea came to fruition when Student Life first decided to split the involvement fair into three different events.

“When the room is too crowded, it’s hard to engage in conversation over interests,” she said.

Spreading the event throughout different days would disperse crowds and provide a better experience for both the student organizations tabling the events and students at the event to learn about the groups, she said.

Monday’s schedule includes the Greek Involvement Fair at the RSC, Willson said. Wednesday and Thursday are part one and part two of the Spring Involvement Fair, featuring student groups and organizations separated by interest.

“Preparations for the fair are going well,” Willson said. “Student Life is just working on getting word out and letting students know what’s going on.”

Student Life has introduced “Twitter Trivia Tuesday” to allow students to engage with the organizations without having to physically be present at the fair, Willson said.

“We will be tweeting from the ‘Get Involved’ Twitter account asking different trivia questions about student organizations on campus, and students can win prizes,” she said.

This year, more than 300 student organizations have signed up, which is much more from years past. Wilson said she is pleased with the participation this semester.

Because it is a planned indoor event, Willson said she is not too concerned about the weather. Yet, she recalled a time when a snowstorm arrived during the involvement fair, which did not cancel the event but affected foot traffic.

“Because it is so cold, Student Life will be providing free coffee in the Coffee House of the Livingston Student Center on Wednesday and Thursday,” she said.

Willson said student organizations would be hosting performances both Wednesday and Thursday.

“Typically, we haven’t included performance pieces during our winter involvement fair because we couldn’t accommodate for it, so this year because we are utilizing the Coffee House, we thought to invite our performance groups to display their talents,” she said.

Cliff Wang, vice president of the Rutgers Management Consulting Association, said the involvement fairs are important for students to gain interest in different clubs and increase involvement.

“When clubs consider that their entire senior member base will be graduating, the drop in numbers of these seasoned members can be alarming,” he said. “As a result, it’s important to make your presence known at these fairs and target eager underclassmen who might not have committed to an organization yet.”

Wang, a Rutgers Business School senior, said his organization always gives informational material to students that visit its booth, ranging from brochures about the organization to flyers about the consulting industry.

“It is also important to be prepared to answer any questions students might have regarding the organization and how commitment-intensive joining the club might be,” he said.

Heidi Nicklaus, a residence hall counselor, said the fair provides an easy access opportunity for students to view the hundreds of organizations offered at Rutgers.

“There are uniquely specific groups and there’s essentially something for everybody,” said Nicklaus, a student in the Graduate School of Education. “Besides acquiring specific information about the organizations, students get to meet other students who are passionate about a common interest.”

Nicklaus, a member of Scarlet Listeners, a peer counseling, crisis and referral hotline, said the organization would be in attendance at the Spring Involvement Fair on Thursday.

She said joining the Scarlet Listeners has provided her with a foundation of counseling skills that she will constantly utilize in her future professional career.

“Being involved in a variety of clubs and organizations allowed me to meet new people I never would have met just by walking around campus,” she said. ”I gained leadership experience holding positions, I have worked with diverse individuals, I strengthened my confidence and I have refined my time management skills.

By Connie Capone

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