Student Activities held its annual Spring Involvement yesterday from 1-6p.m. It was held in Gampel Pavilion for the first time in three years, with the 2021 and 2022 Spring Involvement Fairs being held online. About 350 student clubs and 30 university departments and programs participated and tabled at the fair, according to Student Activities.
Sarah Bernhardt, the Coordinator of Student Organization Support & Leadership at Student Activities, answered some questions regarding the logistics of pulling off an in-person involvement fair and Student Activities’ strategy for engaging students, especially the vast majority of students that have never experienced an in-person involvement fair. She spoke on the engagement of organizations in Student Activities to promote the event such as the various Learning Communities across campus and advertisement through the First Year Experience program.
“We have digital and printed signage throughout campus and within the residence halls, we have also posted in Daily Digest, utilized UConntact, as well as our social media platforms to promote the event. Various Learning Community partners have also shared it with their FYE students. We’ve also had help from our campus partners who are participating in the fair,” Bernhardt said.
Bernhardt did not hold a position at UConn three years ago, so she could not comment on any differences there may have been between this involvement fair and the one held back in 2020. But she did remark that some changes were made such as a check-in system for tables to help streamline the process for clubs.
“It has been three years since the last in-person Spring Involvement Fair! I was not on staff three years ago, but I hope this turns out to be a successful re-launch of the event. We are also piloting a digital check-in system for tables, so no more paper and highlighter,” Bernhardt said.
Finally, Bernhardt commented on why she believes students should attend the involvement fair. She commented that the involvement fair allows students the opportunity to interact with clubs and connect with others that have similar interests. She also noted that it gives a double opportunity for clubs who wish to recruit new members.
“The Involvement Fair is a great way for students to get in-person exposure to a wide variety of student organizations. Through the virtual years, folks indicated that they missed “the vibes” of meeting organization members in-person and getting a feel for the group,” Bernhardt said. “The Involvement Fair also allows for face-to-face communication, which is something that was also missed through virtual engagement. Additionally, the organizations that are tabling have the opportunity to practice marketing and recruitment for their organizations.”
Trisha Hawthorne-Noble, Director of Leadership and Organizational Development oversees the involvement fair and concurred.
“We have quite a few clubs signed up and we’ve aimed to engage students in multiple facets this year.”
If any student missed the Involvement Fair and is still interested in joining clubs, they are encouraged by Student Activities to visit UConntact to explore the more than 700 clubs active on campus.