On Jan. 22 in the Memorial Union, the annual Winter Organization Fair took place. Dozens of students gathered around tables in the rooms of the Union, eager to discuss involvement opportunities with interested students and answer any questions.
“I think it’s important for people to get involved on campus because it gives them an opportunity to get into an activity where you can relieve stress and meet new people,” second-year marketing student and member of the UMaine women’s rugby team Siobhan O’Connor said. “Personally for me, doing rugby is a way that I can stay fit throughout the semester and meet really great people that not only have the same interests as me but also can help me with my classwork and spend time with me.”
The UMaine Women’s Rugby Club team is a popular sport on campus that allows students to connect with other athletes and make lasting relationships. Rugby was one of the many club sports teams present at the organization fair; the various clubs and teams displayed banners and flyer information for students.
Blackbearthon was another organization that attended the fair to encourage volunteers and disperse information.
“Joining clubs is a really good way to network and form friendships. One way I chose to get involved was by signing up for Blackbearthon and being a part of the planning team,” third-year social work student Mariah Davis said. “It’s a dance marathon put on by UMaine every year that benefits Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. It’s on March 28th in the Rec Center, and is a great way to make a difference on this campus and to help shape and change the lives of children in need.”
With the hundreds of clubs and activities to choose from, UMaine offers organization fairs and events that help students decide which groups are right for them. Sports and activity clubs, as well as academic and subject-focused organizations, were also present at the event to help explain the significance of school involvement within subject departments. The Sustainability and Environment Action Division (SEAD) is a group on campus who tabled at the fair and strives to represent students and the need for environmental change.
“Getting yourself immersed in activities on campus is almost just as important or even more important than your academics in a sense,” fourth-year economics student and President of SEAD Dalton Bouchles said. “Once you’re out of college, it’s usually the connections you make in college that matter more than your academic performance.”
The Society of Physics Students is another academic club that represents the physics students on campus and connects them with faculty and students in related fields. With hundreds of different majors and program options, UMaine has created academic organizations that serve as representation for the students who have a passion for their major or area of interest.
“I am involved in the Society of Physics Students as the vice president. We do outreach within our department and in the community to show people that physics can be cool, and isn’t a scary or foreign thing,” second-year physics student MaggieBeth Turcotte said. “Certain activities we do throughout the year include Super Smash Bros tournaments, Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream at our last meeting of each semester, study and review sessions for the introductory physics classes before exams, board game nights and other fun things within our department.”
UMaine has something for every interest, hobby and passion, and the Organization Fair is a great way to see all that the school has to offer. Getting involved can help relieve stress, introduce you to new people and create memories that help enhance the college experience.
“I met a lot of my friends through this club and from being involved on campus in general and putting myself out there so I can experience new things,” Turcotte said. “It’s great to have something to do besides classes, and it was nice as a first-year student to meet older students who I could learn from and connect with.”