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Organization Fair encourages first-years to join UMaine clubs

On Wednesday, Aug. 30, over 200 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 the word about their groups as students made their way from classes. The club tables were spread out in a horseshoe shape, allowing students to visit all the tables and move around the center freely.

It would be neat to have a larger activity in the middle of the mall,” Jeff Klemm, assistant director for Campus Activities said. “Maybe zip line down the entire mall to see everyone.”

This year there are 230 recognized students organizations on campus. Last year, Student Government representatives attended the meetings of various groups on campus in an effort to promote the organization fair and recruitment.

The groups were  sectioned off by their categories, so the greek organizations were located next to each other and the academics groups were in the same area. Campus Activities provided organization maps for students.

“If they had interests in a specific organization, they could go to a specific area on the mall to find them,” Klemm said.

Matthew Ireland, president of the 3-D Printing Club, promoted his organization by giving away 3-D printed badges. He joined the club when it was formed two years ago.

“As we increase our visibility we’re seeing huge input of interest,” Ireland said. This is a great opportunity for visibility, in addition to the word of mouth. Some people have joined the club from hearing about it from their friends.”

More than 60 people showed interest in joining the club. “This year we can use power in the fair, which is helpful since a lot of people haven’t seen a 3-D printer before,” Ireland said.

Fifth-year civil engineering student Dmitri Onishchuk attended this year’s organization fair, despite the fact that he’s already familiar with many student clubs.

“Why not experience new things?” he said. “I love meeting new people and talking to people who are passionate about different things.”

Onishchuk is thinking of rejoining the Mock Trial Team, an organization where college students are given either a criminal or civil court case and argue either as the prosecution or defense. Students can take on the roles as lawyers and witnesses and work from scratch to create their own argument, gaining law and legal experience, as well as networking skills.

Onishchuk was part of the team when they won the 2014 Regional spirit of the American Mock Trial Association (AMTA) award.

Stacy Tsultsumova, a second-year graduate student was representing the Association of Computing Machinery Women. They support the women in technology and computing, providing networking and event opportunities.

“A lot of freshmen came up to our table,” Tsultsumova said. “Since STEM [Science, Technology Engineering, and Math] is a male dominated field, many female freshmen felt like there are not enough female role models for them. They need support from groups like ours, otherwise they might feel alone.”

To learn more about the many student organizations on campus, please visit the organization database on the University of Maine website.

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