Featured Image: Top: Members of Marlins Go Green run a booth at the Student Involvement Fair; bottom: Students of the Latin Student Union at their booth. Colette Kearney | Marlin Chronicle
The annual Student Involvement Fair allows students to find clubs that might otherwise go unnoticed.
Clubs lined up Friday, Sept. 1 for the annual Student Involvement Fair in the Jane P. Batten Student Center to put on display the wide variety of student organizations offered at Virginia Wesleyan. The event featured recreational clubs, Greek Life organizations, student advocacy organizations and more. With everything from Marlins Fishing Club to Students Against Continued Homelessness (SACH), there’s no lack of options for students.
A first-time attendee of the Fair, first-year Mason Medina was impressed with the variety of clubs he learned of.
“There’s a lot of people and there are so many different things to do,” Medina said. A club that particularly caught Medina’s eye was the Half Baked Club, VWU’s baking club.
“I thought that one was very interesting,” Medina said. “I think it’s cool that I could learn new things and expand my horizons.”
Another club that drew a lot of attention at the Student Involvement Fair was the Martial Arts Club. This club’s display of two traditional Japanese swords, as well as a wooden sword that is used for practice, was a huge conversation piece that attracted many people to the table.
Club President and VWU senior Matty Taylor says the club is about “just spreading the love of martial arts, in particular Japanese martial arts, but we’re open to all styles, all disciplines and all skill levels.” Whether students know a lot or nothing at all about martial arts, they’re encouraged to join the club, or at least try it out.
“It’s good for physical fitness and also good for mental health, it’s helped me tremendously in both of those ways,” Taylor said. The Martial Arts Club meets in the Batten Aerobics Studio.
A club founded last year at VWU, Students Against Continued Homelessness (SACH), also had a table at the Student Involvement Fair.
“It’s a club about philanthropy, charity and learning about the causes of homelessness, the solutions and all the issues,” SACH president and sophomore Aiden Foley said. SACH presents an opportunity for students to get involved in the larger community.
To raise awareness about homelessness, the club runs an event called Shack-A-Thon. Last fall, the event was brought back to VWU after five years of not taking place.
“We had about fifteen people that slept out over the course of two days, it was about eight one night and seven the other night,” Foley said. “We really experienced what it was like to be homeless because we had slept out in these cardboard box shacks that we had built. Our first night of sleeping out was Sunday, April 16, and Monday was full of guest speakers.”
After the Student Involvement Fair, SACH had a record turn-out for their first meeting this year and looks forward to expanding outreach efforts. Students Against Continued Homelessness meets at 7 p.m. every Wednesday in the Blocker Hall Auditorium.
Student advocacy organizations, including the Latino Student Alliance, the Black Student Union, Spectrum and the Disabled Student Union, also made an appearance at the Fair.
Josue Maradiaga, a junior and member of the Latino Student Alliance, said the organization is important to campus and his organization because “not a lot of people know a lot about Hispanic culture or anything, so for us to be on campus and just spreading our culture is just really good for everyone.”
Senior Nyke Crutchfield was one of the representatives for the Black Student Union at the Student Involvement Fair. The Black Student Union provides an opportunity for Black students to find a place to talk about their struggles on campus with a group that relates.
“[At meetings] we’ll ask everyone what they want to talk about, whether it’s police brutality, whether it’s racial discrimination on campus, if they’re experiencing anything, what they’re uncomfortable with,” Crutchfield said. “I always tell people my experience when I first joined a few years ago, it really felt like a free therapy session.” The Black Student Union meets every Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the Greer Environmental Sciences Center.
At the fair, students also saw some campus employment opportunities. Sophomore Sarah Richards attended to provide information about the Wesleyan Ambassador Program.
“It’s a great opportunity for students on campus, it’s only a 10-hour commitment, and you get to be kind of the face of Virginia Wesleyan and give some awesome campus tours,” Richards said. By giving tours through this program, students can receive money towards tuition—or a paycheck.
Hopefully the Student Involvement Fair provides all students with a club they’d like to join, but if not, all that students need to start a club is five students and a staff advisor.
By Aiden Croghan