(Featured Image): 40 student organizations participated in the Student Involvement Fair to recruit this year. Carley Tantlinger | Marlin Chronicle
A beloved Virginia Wesleyan University tradition, the semi-annual Student Involvement Fair, was held on campus on Sept. 2. From 1:30-3:30 p.m., a Friday walk through The Grille did not mean just passing a few clusters of people. It meant navigating mazes of tables and excited students, all gathering together to either promote their own organization or hear about new ones.
In order to be accepted as an official student organization on campus, five or more members, a faculty or staff advisor, an established executive board of at least two people and a written constitution are all required. Once all of this information is submitted via an online form to Student Activities, accepted organizations are given the green light to participate in the Student Involvement Fair if they choose to do so.
And the various clubs, fraternities, sororities and honor societies of 2022 all took great advantage of that green light. This year’s Student Involvement Fair had a large turnout with about 40 of the registered student organizations on campus setting up tables and campaigning for participation.
A huge benefit of the fair is that it allows organizations to get a feel for how participation will progress for the semester. Sophomore Jessica Wilson, vice president of Marlins Go Green, expressed how important the Student Involvement Fair was for her club.
“We can reach a lot more students and tell them about all the different opportunities we have for them,” Wilson said.
Both Wilson and accompanying junior Cecelia Aten, president of Marlins Go Green, were excited about the involvement fair giving them the chance to let new and returning students know about upcoming events. With a sustainable art contest happening this fall and the Earth Day event returning with an even larger expansion, Aten was eager to “try and get the VWU community involved with helping the environment … and finding resources for outreach to help make a better impact.”
Junior Sasha LaPonte, president of the Tabletop Gamers Guild, was also eager to get people involved, especially with activities being able to happen in-person. She expressed excitement about “actually seeing people face-to-face for once and not just being on Discord” this semester.
With the hopes and intentions of setting up multiple DnD games and more, she was thankful for the Student Involvement Fair giving her organization the opportunity to advertise. Saying that “gathering people is always sort of the main issue,” LaPonte and the Tabletop Gamers as a whole are looking forward to the ability to expand and include many more people in their adventures.
Club Soccer, led by senior Ethan Labelle, also has many adventures planned for the fall. With games scheduled against other club soccer teams from Old Dominion University, University of Mary Washington, Christopher Newport University, William & Mary and Longwood University, a busy season is in store.
Fellow club member Eric O’Dea, also a senior, expressed his love for the club.
“It’s a great way to make friends with similar interests and do something that we all love and have in common,” O’Dea said. Labelle agreed and reflected on how playing soccer in the club was “just like back in the day without the competitive or time commitment of a varsity sport.” They are both eager to get a kick out of the busy season.
Some organizations had to temporarily “shut down” the past few years since a virtual method of meeting did not make sense. Such was the case with the Martial Arts Club which has technically been around for five years but has recently been reactivated from taking a two-year break.
President Matty Taylor, a junior, expressed that the club’s intentions for the fresh semester are to “do a lot of cool events including self defense seminars, discussions of foreign countries martial arts and other things like that.” He is a member of the Bushin Kan Iaido Dojo at VWU and is passionate about the growth of this revitalized organization.
Junior Brice Johnson, vice president of the Martial Arts Club, stated that the club is “really about the focus and the mind and the meditation… that’s what we try and find everyday we’re in the dojo.”
Iaido, the type of art they practice, is described by Taylor as “the art of drawing the samurai sword,” and they are guided towards learning it by their instructor Dr. Steve Emmanuel who has been studying Iaido for thirty years. They look forward to further developing and deepening their organization as they continue to advance themselves through it in the process.
Overall, the Student Involvement Fair of 2022 was a buzz of connectivity for students. It presented an opportunity for organizations to introduce themselves and had the effect of allowing many more to get involved in campus activities.