About 2,000 take advantage of Activities Fair

By
Friday, September 5, 2008

On their way into the fall Activities Fair Thursday evening, about 2,000 students flashed their IDs to Chuck Hampton, the front desk attendant at the OMAC. The students were on their way to speed-date about 290 student groups active in athletics, performing arts, publishing, community service and politics whose members were waiting at tables eager to recruit them – freshmen, transfer students, upperclassmen and graduate students alike.

“Almost every freshman comes” to the activities fair, Director of Student Activities Ricky Gresh said.

Groups in attendance, ranging from the ever-popular ­- like a cappella groups and the Brown Band – to smaller groups like Watershed and the Brown Linux Users Group, put on quite a show aiming to impress new recruits. Clubs boasted break dancers, uniforms and even costumed mascots to draw attention.

And the droves of potential recruits didn’t disappoint, many of them enthusiastically putting their names and e-mail addresses down for more than a few mailing lists. “I signed up for Anime Club and the Speculative Media (and Entertainment) Group,” Joshua Brown ’12 said.

“I checked out BSR, the Indy, the Brown Democrats and emPOWER,” Fiona Condon ’12 said.

Some student groups hoped to use the fair to establish a strong presence with the community. “(The activities fair) is always at the back of our minds because we want to get a good presence in the Brown community,” said Jason Ziplow ’10, a representative for Alpha Epsilon Pi at the fair. “It’s not really about numbers – it’s more about making sure people know who we are.”

Other groups were focused on taking on new members. “This is always a great event to get fresh members,” Michelle Lam ’09 of Habitat for Humanity said. Lam said she hoped to enlist 30 to 40 new members but was worried about maintaining interest level throughout the year. “With most clubs there’s a big initial interest, but the problem is getting people to keep showing up throughout the year.”

Watershed, a student group that publishes an environment and culture journal and which started about four years ago, was trying to boost its numbers. “A lot of people graduated. It’s a rebuilding year,” Helen Mou ’10 said. The group hoped to recruit 10 new members.

The Orientation Welcoming Committee and the Student Activities Office began planning for the activities fair last November, said Michelle Norworth ’10, an OWC committee chair. The number of groups increased by about 25 from last year’s activities fair, Gresh said. More upperclassmen showed up to browse the groups than had come in the past, he added, likely because the fair was on a weeknight instead of a weekend.