On Sept. 4, West Chester University hosted the annual Fall Involvement Fair in the academic quad from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The Fall Involvement Fair is held near the beginning of each fall semester to help fuel student involvement within various clubs, organizations and other extracurricular activities on campus. With almost every student organization participating in one location, the fair serves as an easy way for interested students to interact with leaders on campus, learn what the University has to offer, and sign up to join organizations.
Part of the appeal of the fair is that, while it is geared toward all students, it is especially helpful to first-year students who might not know how to get involved or know what types of opportunities are out there.
“The Involvement Fair last week was amazing; there were so many freshman here and transfer students signing up to get involved,” said Shaina Mason, student director at Sykes Student Union. “[But] it was a really cool experience for everybody. It showed how amazing West Chester is and our awesome organizations.”
This year’s Involvement Fair generated the most student organization involvement in recent years, with 187 campus organizations and clubs registering for a spot on the academic quad.
“It says a lot that we had so many people, so many leaders out there strutting their stuff for the university and for their organizations,” Mason said.
In addition to campus involvement, there was a significant community presence at the business expo section, located between Ruby Jones Hall and the Phillips Memorial Building. Local restaurants, banks, shops and other businesses made their way out, armed with free food, gifts, and coupons, making themselves known to the student population that is so crucial to their
“We had over 30 businesses participate in the business expo this year, which is the largest it has ever been, as well as a handful of Ram-E Card vendors too,” said assistant director for student involvement Meghan Gaffney.
“I think it’s really cool that the community got involved,” Mason added. “I think it is so important because borough and school relations are really important. It gave students the opportunity to interact with leaders in the community.”
A large part of the success of the fair hinged on the volunteer efforts of students. Between organization, set up, assistance during the fair, and clean up, a lot of cooperation and time was required from its volunteers.
“We had more volunteers set up faster than ever before,” Gaffney said. “Last year we weren’t set on the quad until 10 a.m., but this year the 250 tables and 500 chairs were delivered at 7:30 a.m., and we were set up at 8:30 a.m. So just the amount of student presence and enthusiasm was undeniable.”
Joe Deegan, a leadership consultant involved with volunteering for the Involvement Fair, was also impressed by the work of his peers to get things set up and running smoothly.
“It was surprising because we all reported at 7:30 and we were expected to take two and a half hours, but because of the overwhelming amount of people that showed up to volunteer, we were done within an hour, maybe an hour and fifteen minutes,” Deegan said. “It was amazing to see the empty quad turn into a quad filled with tables and chairs.”
It is early yet to deem the fair a “success” based on student involvement in clubs this semester, but with the amount of interest and the outpour of organizational effort put into the fair, all signs are pointing toward a very positive semester for campus clubs and organizations.
“We heard from most of our organizations that they had pages and pages of interest, so we are hoping to see a bump in our involvement and student engagement, so that all the organizations themselves and all the potential members left feeling good about the day,” Gaffney said.
“We had a huge turnout this year, so it seemed a little crowded at times,” Deegan said. “But overall this is probably one of the better Involvement Fairs I’ve been to.”