The Woes of Club Fairs

Erin Ennis

Since I was a freshman back in 2006 (wow that makes me feel old), I have participated in Club Fair’s during open house. I have sat with the Forensic Science and Chemistry Club, Alpha Lambda Delta, and the 5-6-7-8 Dance Team. It has always been interesting to sit and watch prospective students, a role each and every one of us once played, come through in hopes of finding an activity they would enjoy. Every year, the USGA sponsored Club Fairs meet with some sort of scrutiny and this year is, surprisingly, no different.

For the first time ever, I got the privilege of sitting with The Charger Bulletin at one of the big tables. No cramping for me! I got there early for two reasons: first, we were never told as clubs what time to arrive and two, I was up anyway to work on finishing this issue. I set up my poster board, laid out papers, and waited. And waited. And waited. A few clubs stumbled in to the empty Recreation Center, but most of the spots remained empty.

Around eleven, a presentation about The College of Arts and Sciences was given to an impressively large crowd of potential freshmen and their parents. The presentation was actually interesting: they played a video and discussed the options of incoming students. However, most people probably could not hear it over the influx of clubs and organizations attempting to set up their tables. Clubs poured in to do the duties they signed up for every year and yet for the first time they were seen as interruptions instead of helpful upperclassmen. Even I was getting annoyed: and I knew it wasn’t the clubs faults.

After the presentation was over the students left, and I was surprised to find myself waiting. And waiting. And waiting. Does this seem familiar? It should. I waited a lot in the beginning too. I was finally ready to talk to these high school students, and they had just left. They came back eventually, sure, but by this point most club members were frustrated, and easily showing it.  I spent maybe an hour, if that, actually talking to students. Many took newspapers and frisbees, and a couple asked genuine questions. But for the most part, the clubs seemed like more of an inconvenience, and the purpose we have held for my four years here was lost amidst confusion and annoyances.

Is there a way to fix this? I definitely think so. For one: try to hold the club fair in a separate location from college talks or, if they are needed to be kept together, make sure the clubs arrive either before the lecture starts or after it ends. That way we aren’t seen as interruptions. Also, if clubs are there before hand, keep quiet during the presentation! When you were a freshman, I’m sure you actually wanted to hear what your faculty had to say. And finally, let’s try to be more organized! It never hurts to make sure that everyone is on the same page and aware of what is about to happen.  It keeps people from getting frustrated…and from waiting. And waiting.

Let’s try to make open house club fairs more efficient next time around! The clubs and organizations, as well as prospective students, will all appreciate it!