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Getting involved on campus: student involvement fair

The University of Maine’s student organizations lined the mall last Friday during this Fall’s Student Involvement Fair. If you missed it, you can find the list of active student organizations here

The Student Involvement Fair is one of the biggest recruitment events for student clubs, and has most of the campus’ official clubs in attendance. The fair organizes clubs by type, placing them in one of the following categories: service, special interest, fine arts, religious, multicultural, academic/professional, political, recreational, community/representative, honorary or Fraternity/Sorority Life. 

The fair begins at the top of the mall by the library. In the special interest section, students can find displays from groups such as the car club and the creative writing club.

One of these groups was the Black Bear Beekeepers, who had an interactive display for those going by. The beekeepers had two slats from one of their hives on display. Going up, students can try samples of homemade honey and then feed the bees whatever was leftover on their finger. 

“Earlier, you could get five or six on you,” said Jacob Qiu, who was working the table. “They’ve been gorging themselves all day.”

Looking into the slats, students get a glimpse of bees at work. Simply going by the table is exciting, as some bees were out and about.

Down the mall, students can find multicultural clubs, including the German, Spanish, Japanese and French clubs. Across from them would be the Fine Arts, which include clubs for those interested in different forms of dance, as well as theater, poetry and more.

In the academic section, students are able to find clubs for those holding similar areas of study. Clubs such as Women in Business and Women in Economics are catered to growing communities around those in their respective fields.

“As women in a male dominated major, it’s nice to have a safe space,” said Ruth Griffith, the president of Women in Economics. 

While many members are econ majors, Griffith explained, anyone interested in economics can join.

While many of the academic clubs pertain to a special field of study, these clubs are open to everyone. 

The Math Club, for example, is open to anyone who gets excited about math. This is one of UMaine’s newest clubs. It was started last year and will be officially recognized in the coming weeks. 

Their club trains and participates in two competitions during the year, as well as hosting talks that may be of interest to a wider audience.

“Even if people aren’t just math all the time, people will still be interested in the talks,” said Kaia De Vries, the president of the club. “All you have to have is a positive attitude.”

“Don’t fear math, let it fear you,” said Sarah Termel, club secretary. 

The two founding members were happy with the turnout they’d seen at the fair.

The sports and recreational clubs could be found closer to the Memorial Gym. These clubs make up a large portion of the total fair. They are also some of the most noticeable clubs, as tabling groups can be seen holding oars, playing volleyball and showing off gear. 

The rock climbing club provides a community for those of all experience levels looking to start climbing. Adelaide Brandt, club president, has been climbing for about three years. 

“It’s great to climb after hours at MaineBound. It takes a lot of the pressure off those who are new,” said Brandt.

There are also clubs specific for freshmen who may want extra guidance on their first year of college.The Sophomore Eagles and Sophomore Owls are traditional clubs, catering towards females and males respectively. They participate in campus-wide philanthropy and events, as well as passing UMaine traditions along. 

“We’re upholding traditions, like learning the Stein song, so it doesn’t get lost,” said Caleb Canders, president of the Sophomore Owls.

Many students go through the involvement fair, leading to clubs getting a lot of sign-ups. Even if not everyone ends up committing to the club, many clubs get a large influx of new members.

“Last year, 284 people signed up. About 80 people showed up to the first meeting,” said Brandt.

The Student Involvement Fair isn’t just for those interested in a specific club but for those who want to walk around the mall and see what’s available. The Student Involvement Fair is held towards the beginning of each semester. It tends to take place on a Wednesday, with a Friday rain-date.

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