Marlins storm the Involvement Fair

College can be a difficult transition for new students that do not know many other people on campus. One way to meet new people and make friends is to seek out groups who have made connections with other people on campus with the same interests. The Student Involvement Fair creates an opportunity for new students to find special friendships on campus and become a part of an organization. With morethan 60 organizations on Virginia Wesleyan University’s campus it is possible for every student to find a place where they can feel is right for them.

On Tuesday, Sept. 10, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., students gathered in the Batten Center at Virginia Wesleyan University and began to set up tables and posters to represent their respective organizations.

Each organization set out candy and had a unique poster that explained what their organization is. Greek Life and other organizations had music to attract new members and encouraged those who were walking through the Batten Center to learn more about their organization. The Student Involvement Fair allowed students to visit each organization to learn more about which club might be the best fit for them. On each table, there was a sign-up sheet for those who may be interested which asked them for their name, email address and sports team, for those who are involved with sports. This makes it easy for these organizations to reach out to each student in order to give them more information. There are no commitments by signing up for these organizations which allows each student to have the freedom to sign up for more than just one organization.

There are a variety of organizations on campus from Greek Life to community, such as YoungLife, National Alliance on Mental Illness, Planned Parenthood Generation Action and Marlins Go Green. Other organizations on campus involve sports clubs, academic honors clubs and religious clubs.     Although many people might find it difficult to participate in more than one organization, Kennedi Jones, a senior at Virginia Wesleyan University, proves that it is possible by being a part of the field hockey team and the President of the Sigma Omicron Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha, a sorority on campus. Alpha Kappa Alpha believes in serving all mankind by doing community service and reaching out to every person they can in order to help improve the lives of others.

Participating in an organization can be beneficial in many ways that can help shape your future. “Being in this organization has helped me build my confidence as a black woman and empower other women. It has also taught me that our sisterhood bonds are very strong and that I will always have someone there to help me wherever I go,” Jones said.

Greek Life is not the only organization that focuses on bettering the lives of others. The National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI), is the first student organization to give students a platform to openly talk about mental illness and mental health. Kaniah Elkerson, the Vice President of NAMI on the Virginia Wesleyan University campus, said that NAMI serves as an educational organization and a support system. “Our educational meetings emphasize healthy coping mechanisms for those who have mental illness. Other meetings act as support groups where we provide a judgment-free safe place for our members to express themselves freely.”

Organizations such as NAMI benefit not only those who are not members but people within the organization as well. “Throughout this year I can definitely say that my leadership skills have grown and so have I as a person.”  Elkerson said. Finding an organization that correlates with your studies is possible. “Being a psychology major with a passion for mental health, I was more than thrilled to join,” Elkerson said. If you are passionate about a topic or purpose that is not represented on the Virginia Wesleyan University Campus, it is supported and encouraged that you start your own organization. Virginia Wesleyan University wants to ensure that every student on campus feels as if they have a place and a purpose.

Karleigh Warren