Student life shines in Spring Involvement Fair

Students have fun during the Spring Involvement Fair at Gampel Pavilion on Jan. 27, 2016. (Sam Mahmud/The Daily Campus)

Despite it being the second half of the academic year, students filled Gampel Pavilion Wednesday afternoon to browse 340 clubs and organizations, including academic, cultural, environmental and arts groups as well as Greek life.

The spring involvement fair proved to be a bustling exchange between students on both sides, from those promoting their own organizations and those looking to join new ones. Although some seemed intimidated, many were excited by the options, moving from table to table, signing up and gathering flyers from their favorite organizations.

“I wasn’t really part of anything my freshman year,” Alex Zaccagnini, a sixth semester human development and family studies major, said.

Zaccagnini went on to explain how she got involved with the dance club.

“I learned about competition. You get all beautiful and you get all confident and you apply all the dancing you learned on your team. It makes you feel like a beautiful princess every single time.”

Ballroom dancing, Zaccagnini said, soon turned into a hobby she plans on doing the rest of her life. Thanks to her involvement in the club, she said she met some of her closest friends, including Victoria Gavras, the vice president of the club.

Zaccagnini and Gavras said they became friends on the dance floor after a misunderstanding in which Zaccagnini stole Gavras’s dance partner during practice. While telling the story, they looked at each other laughing and reminiscing over their experiences as part of the organization.

Students who came to join various groups expressed a range of interests.  

“Last semester, I got involved in a lot of community service clubs, but this semester I want to join more social and arts-based things,” Madison Kent, a second-semester allied health sciences major said.

Kent came to the involvement fair with her roommate, Tori Martel, who is also a second semester allied health sciences major. Both Kent and Martel said they were not interested in the academic clubs. 

“I mean, you do so much already, and they’re reminding you about getting a job and getting ahead,” Martel said, adding she was interested in the radio station. “I love music and it really helps, especially with the course load in college. I want to learn about the whole process of playing music over a station.”

While Kent and Martel didn’t have their eyes set on the academic clubs, Austin Breglia, a sixth-semester allied health sciences major, did.

“I’m looking to get involved to build my resume,” Breglia said.

He is involved in the allied health sciences and pre-dental clubs, but said he is thinking about joining the boxing club to get in shape.

For many of the new clubs and organizations present, the involvement fair was a début event. The street performers club started this semester after Christian Gonzales, an eighth-semester biomedical engineering major, found others who shared his passion for juggling.

“We’re super excited to get this going,” Gonzales said. “The point of the street performers club is to build a community of people with similar interests.”

“They are lightly varied,” added Tyler Daddio, a second-semester computer science and engineering major, as he balanced his unicycle with one hand. “We do anything from juggling to unicycling to yo-yoing and we’re trying to pick up magic tricks, too.”

Students who once walked the aisles of the involvement fair, unsure and nervous about all the different possibilities, but excited to be part of a community on campus, said it was a rewarding experience being a recruiter this time around.

“It’s kind of an odd thing. I remember my freshman and sophomore year walking around here not making eye contact and now we’re like please make eye contact,” Jasmine Alexander-Brookings, an eighth-semester urban youth development major, said as she stood in front of the recruiting table for Theta Delta Sigma. “I think we’re just happy to be here because we believe in our organization.”  


Diler Haji is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at diler.haji@uconn.edu.