SOA announces first spring student organizations fair

Students+browse+tables+at+the+activities+fair+in+fall+quarter+of+2014.

Daily file photo by Caroline Olsen

Students browse tables at the activities fair in fall quarter of 2014.

Yunkyo Kim, Assistant Campus Editor

Student Organizations and Activities announced Feb. 13 that it will debut a Student Organizations Fair in the spring. The department has hosted the fair in only Fall and Winter Quarters in the past.

The fair will take place in Norris University Center on the first Wednesday of Spring Quarter. The office is circulating a sign-up form to get a table at the fair as of Feb. 14 and expects a minimum of 40 groups to be present.

“Our hope is that if we offer the organization fair in the spring as well, students will come to check out the organizations looking to grow and find their belonging and find their community faster on campus,” Joe Lattal, SOA’s assistant director, said.

The announcement comes after SOA consulted with about 15 student organizations during the last few weeks, Lattal said. The office found that many organizations have opportunities for students to get involved in the spring, such as major events or board transitions.

The committee also heard from students that if students don’t get involved in groups in the fall or winter, they feel like they have to wait until the following Fall Quarter to have opportunities to join, Lattal said. Students may also feel overwhelmed by the number of organizations in the fall Student Organizations Fair.

“We look at the winter organizations fair, and now the spring organizations fair as an opportunity for students to slow down, take their time (and) actually explore a little more,” Lattal said. “We recognize that there won’t be as many participating organizations, but our hope is that students will be able to explore a little deeper than they would in the fall.”

In the fall, over 2,500 students attended the Student Organizations Fair, which hosted 300 groups divided by two days, he said. In Winter Quarter, he said, nearly 1,000 students participated.

Ayelet Chavel, Associated Student Government chair of student activities and resources and a Weinberg junior, said she coordinated with SOA to receive feedback from student organizations, which gave positive comments on creating a spring version of the Student Organizations Fair.

“We decided (the spring fair) is not too complicated to organize and it would help newly approved student groups to get their name out there and have a small membership before the next school year starts,” Chavel said.

Chavel said this would also relieve pressure from that members of new organizations that feel they may have to compete for involvement in the Fall Quarter as well as decrease stress from first-year students who are settling in. She said she ended up signing up for around 20 organizations in her first year and went to meetings for three of them.

Communication junior Jacyln Orlando who serves as a producer of Mee-Ow said the improv and sketch comedy group works with SOA to make its shows more accessible for students.

Orlando said the troop will likely sign up for a table to present at the spring fair. Because there is an abundance of actors and not as much set, sound and lighting designers, Mee-Ow and other theater groups can benefit from introducing new designers in the spring, she said.

Spring, in particular, is a time for turnovers in the theater community, which would help student groups, Orlando added. However, she said she was not sure about the kind of members who may join in the spring. During the fall, there is a lot of interest from first-year students, she said.

“Honestly, for certain clubs (like theater groups) that are refilling positions in the spring, that can be super helpful,” Orlando said. “For groups that only audition or recruit in the fall, it can be tough.”

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