SOA hosts first spring activities fair on Instagram


The SOA Instagram page. SOA held its inaugural Spring Quarter activities fair on Instagram due to the coronavirus.

Yunkyo Kim, Assistant Campus Editor

With the inaugural Spring Quarter activities fair halted due to Northwestern’s campus closure, Student Organizations & Activities held a virtual event April 6, 7 and 8.

About 35 organizations participated in the online activities fair hosted on the SOA Instagram page, Joe Lattal, SOA’s assistant director, said. Club representatives prepared digital posters and recruitment videos for potential new members, despite many of their activities being canceled due to the University’s decision to hold remote classes for all of Spring Quarter.

The SOA Instagram account’s 800 followers consist mostly of student group platforms and individual student accounts, Lattal said. Through the virtual fair, students will be able to create new campus connections while at home, he said, and clubs will be able to continue some of their essential operations.

“We know that the volume of events and offerings in the student or community will decrease this term,” Lattal said, “but we’re also hearing about a lot of creative ideas from student organizations that are offering remote things.”

Some student organizations undergo turnover during Spring Quarter, Lattal said. Smaller clubs may potentially elect new members to executive boards to sustain leadership and continue pursuing regular meetings.

Lattal said he isn’t sure what impact a virtual fair might have on helping maintain certain club memberships, but felt offering it would prompt students to participate.

“Students develop their leadership potential through student organizations,” he said. “(SOA is) all about students being able to find a sense of belonging and greater meaning at Northwestern.”

Lydia Spettel, a SESP junior and executive director of Arts Alliance, said the theater group was able to promote their club from her home in Wisconsin.

Arts Alliance, the oldest theater board on campus, aims to make art accessible to Northwestern’s community members. Even though it canceled its spring show, the quarter is still important, Spettel said. Many theater groups have turnovers in leadership roles as additional recruitment.

“It is kind of sad and difficult to do online, you don’t get the same energy and same feel and excitement from people, but it still works,” Spettel said. “We still have a lot to do. And we still get to meet a bunch of really enthusiastic and amazing student artists from campus, even if we’re not there in person.”

Members of Arts Alliance recorded themselves promoting the club. Spettel said the club will hold interviews over Zoom, and that, while not ideal, the selection process is “very doable.”

Weinberg junior Ayelet Chavel, Associated Student Government vice president of student activities and resources, collaborated with SOA to create the first Spring Quarter activities fair, which would have been hosted in Norris University Center.

An activities fair every quarter would relieve pressure from organization leaders who may be under pressure in the fall to compete for recruitment, as well as dilute stress from potential new members, Chavel said.

“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 told the Daily before the University moved to remote classes.

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