New possibilities overwhelm at fair

The Daily Northwestern

Soon to be bombarded with homework, papers and exams, new andreturning students descended on Norris University Center Thursdaynight, to see what they could do to get involved.

Leaders and representatives from 167 student groups mannedtables and distributed flyers and candy at this year’s ActivitiesFair in the effort to lure new and returning students to theirgroups, which encompassed everything from a capella to chess.

This year the Activities Fair organizers made a more elaboratelist of the various student groups and included it in a guidebookthey handed out to students, so they can refer to ityear-round.

“If (students) are not ready to get involved just yet, they’llhave (the guide) for when they’re ready,” said Sameer Paroo,coordinator of student organizations at Norris.

At the event, some students found themselves overwhelmed fromall the opportunities presented.

“It’s tough to figure out where anything is,” said MichaelBinkley, a Weinberg freshman, as he joined the mass of studentsentering the Louis Room in Norris around 4:30 p.m.

Binkley eventually added his name to the listserv of the firstgroup he found interesting, Arts Alliance, which occupied a boothimmediately inside the doorway to the Louis Room.

“I don’t even know what they do,” he said, examining thecomplimentary plastic cup that members of the group had handed tohim.

Weinberg freshmen Samantha Ptashkin and Janell Fetterolf saidthey couldn’t walk more than three feet without being bombardedwith flyers and freebies from student group leaders.

Both looked skeptical when Robert Lount, a Kellogg studenttrying to recruit volunteers to the Kellogg Research Studieslistserv approached them.

“Nothing sketchy,” Lount promised when they hesitated. Bothgirls wrote down their e-mail addresses.

Members of other student groups used different methods torecruit new members.

NU’s cheerleaders designed elaborate posterboards and worked theroom in their game uniforms.

Amy Summers, a Weinberg senior and member of varsity women’screw, said she and other members of the team targetedathletic-looking students as soon as they entered Norris’ secondfloor.

“We look tough, we look hard-core, but at the same time, we looklike we’re having fun,” Summers said, between asking ActivitiesFair attendees, “You interested in rowing?”

For most groups, the aggressive tactics worked. Students saidthey found what they expected at the fair — and then some.

Binkley went to the fair intending to sign up for club tennis.In his quest to find the group’s booth, he explored many others andsigned up for listservs and information from six diverse groups,including Arts Alliance, Dance Marathon, Model UN, Outing Club, thephotography group and Boomshaka.

“You sign up for everything you think you might be interested(in),” Binkley said. “Then you wait to get the listserv e-mails tosee if you really are.”

Reach Corrie Driebusch at [email protected].Reach Francesca Jarosz at [email protected]