The Involvement Fair, hosted in the middle of the University of Connecticut’s Storrs campus each fall, is one of the few times a year that the university’s 700 plus clubs are all in one place.
During the fair, students are able to visit each table and speak to current club members, get free merch or food and sign up for any club that interests them. Students can see the wide variety of activities available at UConn and learn how to get involved.
Clubs find the involvement fair helpful because they are able to show off the work they do and have a chance to recruit new students to join and increase club membership, Derby Egyin said. Egyin is a seventh-semester human rights and sociology double major and women’s gender and sexuality studies and Africana studies double minor, and the president of SUBOG.
SUBOG is the largest student-run organization on campus responsible for hosting events for students throughout the year. Egyin said the Involvement Fair is where they get most of their new members.
“It was really successful because our membership in general has increased about tenfold. We have so many new members in our meetings and group chats and we were able to gain a lot of new followers on our Instagram, which is really huge for marketing our events,” Egyin said.
According to Egyin, SUBOG has multiple committees within the organization, and some of the smaller committees have increased in almost three times their size after the Involvement Fair.
“I think it’s great, especially for first year students who really have no clue as to what organizations there are on campus, it’s a really good opportunity for them to get a first introduction,” Egyin said.
“I think it’s great, especially for first year students who really have no clue as to what organizations there are on campus, it’s a really good opportunity for them to get a first introduction,”Derby Egyin, seventh semester human rights and sociology double major
Other organizations, on the other hand, met students at the Involvement Fair that have already been in contact with them and know they exist.
UConn Future Educators is a club that helps pre-teaching and teaching majors with their resumes, applications into the UConn NEAG School of Education, and gives students professional development opportunities.
Sam Cohn, a seventh-semester secondary education and mathematics double major, is the co-vice president of UConn Future Educators, and ran their table at the fair. Future Educators looks specifically to recruit students in an education-related major.
“A lot of the education majors and pre-teaching majors know we exist and actively seek us out at the Involvement Fair. A lot of them just try to find our table and come right up to us. There’s people that already want to join,” Cohn said.
According to Cohn, since Future Educators is widely known among education-related majors, the Involvement Fair doesn’t seem like a necessary event to be present at in order to gain new members each year, although they expect to continue having a table in the future.
In addition to becoming involved in events on campus and major-related groups, the Involvement Fair also gives students the opportunities to learn about programs that can go as far as taking them out of the country.
Dayna Hausspiegel, a fifth-semester communications major and digital arts minor, ran a table for UConn Hillel, the center for Jewish life at UConn. Hausspiegel is a BICEP intern for Hillel and works on student engagement and recruitment for Birthright, a free ten-day trip to Israel.
“I think it went well, we got a lot of sign ups, educated people that had never been to Hillel that wanted to join, I think a lot of first year students engaged with Hillel. There were a lot of freshmen and sophomores, but then people interested in Birthright could be all ages of students,” Hausspiegel said.
In addition to hosting trips to Israel, Hillel puts on events and activities throughout the year for all students on campus to attend, and the building is open during the day as a quiet place for students to come and study or sit with friends. [Text Wrapping Break]
“At the Involvement Fair, we ask questions, see what they’re familiar with, educate and we give out free stuff. I’ve seen some people at the Involvement Fair come to Hillel and people followed and contacted our Birthright Instagram,” Hausspiegel said.
Sometimes, though, clubs find it hard to keep the same number of members that first joined at the Involvement Fair. Stephanie Ballas, a fifth-semester diagnostic genetic sciences and psychology major, and member of Community Outreach, an organization that works on getting students involved in service activities at and around UConn. Ballas is a part of two committees in Community Outreach, one that puts on events for students and another that works with a homeless shelter near the UConn campus.
“A ton of people signed up, we almost doubled our members, and then everyone says, ‘Wait, I’m too busy, I’m not going to go.’ People sign up, but then they also sign up for other programs, but you can only do so much, right? And then they have to pick,” Ballas said.
While it may be hard to engage every student that signs up during the Involvement Fair, overall, Ballas says, it’s a good event for clubs to participate in.
“I would say the Involvement Fair is helpful, mainly for underclassmen, which really is what the fairs are for. Anyone can look at the clubs and do whatever based on that, but they don’t really know until they talk to somebody and someone tells them to sign up,” Ballas said.