Students at the University of Connecticut joined in virtually this year to partake in the semi-annual Involvement Fair this week.
Hosted by Student Activities and UConntact, UConn’s engagement platform, the Involvement Fair featured numerous clubs, sports and organizations throughout the week as a way to recruit new members who may be living off campus this semester.
Students were able to visit organizations’ pages, request to join them and send messages to other members, as well as being able to join virtual calls on WebEx or Zoom to talk directly with student organizations and clubs.
The Involvement Fair is normally held in person on Fairfield Way at the UConn Storrs campus, but this clearly didn’t stop clubs from engaging with new members this year.
Kristen Carr, Coordinator of Involvement and Student Organization Support at the Department of Student Activities, explained that the virtual Involvement Fair was developed as a way to connect students while most are attending class away from campus.
“This Virtual Involvement Fair is quite different from the in-person event,” said Carr. “This fair takes place across three days and is set up as nine mini fairs, based on organization category/interest to maximize the impact of students navigating the event to find new things to get connected to.”
As far as turnout this year for organizations taking part in the virtual fair, Carr says it was just as successful as previous ones. The first two days saw over 2,000 attendees.
“We are halfway through the event and it is going very well,” said Carr. “We are hearing that some groups are having tons of students jump into their chats and seeing that other groups are having a lot of passive connections — students going to their UConntact pages, sending messages and requesting to join.”
For Thomas Longo, a fifth-semester accounting major and vice president of the UConn Chamber Orchestra, the Involvement Fair has been a way to engage with new students as UC Chamber cannot meet in person.
“We have rehearsals once per week during the school year, and we have a concert at the end of every semeste,” said Longo. “However, due to COVID-19, we are not having any in-person meetings or concerts. We are holding weekly meetings over Zoom where we plan on having music theory and ear training lessons. Our goal this semester is to keep our club members engaged in music, despite the fact that we cannot physically meet altogether.”
Although many UConn annual activities are turning virtual this year, Longo says this year’s Involvement Fair still felt similar to last year.
“Other than not being at UConn, the Involvement Fair still felt similar to previous years,” Longo said. “We were able to get a good turnout, and we were able to meet and speak to numerous prospective club members.”