Aliya Uteunova, Staff
On Aug. 26, the University of Maine welcomed 2,300 new students, which is the largest class in the university’s history. To gain new membership, on Aug. 31 more than 155 campus clubs and organizations tabled at the Annual Student Organization Fair on the University Mall.
Participants of the fair were able to recruit new members and spread awareness about their groups on the University Mall. This year, participating tables were spread out in a horseshoe shape. That way, students were able to see all the tables and move around the center freely.
“The space is filled with lots of energy and excitement,” Dean of Students Robert Dana said. “People can check each other out, check things out and check the whole experience in it. It’s not too crowded.”
“The layout is a lot better this year,” Annie Bonnanzio, a fourth-year student, shared. Bonnanzio was tabling for UMaine’s dance program. “It is easier for people to navigate and being able to see everybody too is a lot better.”
Interested students had the opportunity to sign up for various clubs offered by the dance program, such as dance club, hip hop club, tap club, ballet club and celtic dance club. People of all skill levels are welcome to join any of those clubs.
South Asian Association of Maine was amongst many clubs tabling at the fair last Wednesday. Vice President Shirly Stephen shared that many non-Asian students signed up for the club.
“They are interested in the culture and the events we put on, especially Colorfest,” Stephen said. Hindus around the world celebrate the beginning of spring by throwing colored powder at others during the Festival of Colors (Colorfest).
First-year student Taylor Lindham joined Anime Club and the Student Alliance for Sexual Health (SASH). Lindham said that she was drawn to the SASH table because of eye-catching signs.
“I like the fair, but I just wish some clubs had bigger signs so that we could read what they are about,” Vasiliqi Turlla, a first-year student, said. Turlla joined the UMaine Neuroclub which she is looking forward to being a part of.
“I like the opportunity that there are so many different clubs that you get to go around and see all of them, and not just some of them that you hear about,” Jenna Bishop, a first-year student, shared.
Turlla and Bishop were hesitant about attending UMaine because both of them are from Bangor.
“I could not be happier I chose it. I love it, everyone is so friendly here,” Turlla said.
“This fair shows how friendly people are, how there is so much to offer here, it is wonderful,” Bishop added.
The organization fair also provided a space for different clubs to network with each other. Elizabeth Demin is a part of Entrepreneurship Club and president of Skeptics Club. Demin reached out to different clubs at the fair to see if their groups have anything in common.
“Maybe we can get some of their members to come to our meetings, and we can go to theirs, because they are related.”
Demin found that one-on-one interaction was the most effective way of recruiting new members.
“It is great when you have a personal connection with someone, because then they are more inclined to join,” Demin said.
Rich Metellus, a graduate assistant at the Campus Activities & Student Engagement (CASE) was one of the people who helped put this organization fair together. Metellus shared that the biggest takeaway from the fair was seeing students engage with various clubs and organizations.
“Everyone was smiling, free-spirited and having a good time,” Metellus said.
To learn more about the many student organizations on campus, please visit the organization database on the University of Maine website.