Annual Involvement Fair held virtually for the first time this fall

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Photo: utica.edu

Emmalyn Ylaya, Staff Writer

Once a semester, UC hosts its Involvement Fair where students can have the opportunity to learn about the different clubs and organizations available on campus. 

Students are encouraged to join as many clubs and organizations they want to be involved in on campus, whether the organization relates to academics, Greek life or entertainment.

In accordance with the COVID-19 protocol, this semester’s Involvement Fair was held virtually on Sept. 4 via the Pioneer Place website, instead of the traditional event outside of the Strebel Student Center. 

Pioneer Place is one of the college’s online resources where clubs and organizations are listed for interested students to gather information.

In order to attend the event, students had to log into Pioneer Place and click on the club they were interested in. Each organization had their own chat room on Google Meet or Zoom for students to interact with members. 

Assistant Leadership Development Director, Bethany VanBenschoten said she enjoyed being able to be present at all her “tables” at the same time, and having the opportunity to interact one-on-one with the students who showed up at the event with questions. Since she is a club advisor for multiple organizations, she ended up going from one club to another. 

“It felt more informal and I think students were less apprehensive about conversing with new people,” VanBenschoten said. “I had lots of fun with it.” 

With the event being in an online environment, many students and club advisors did not have the turn out anticipated. However, some clubs had students join immediately on Pioneer Place. 

Assistant College Engagement Director Jason Francey said the Involvement Fair usually draws in a large crowd. Therefore, all of the Student Living and College Engagement staff thought it would be best to have the event available to the UC community online for the safety of all students and staff. 

“I’m sure we all missed being able to walk through the academic quad and interact physically with our student clubs and organizations,” Francey said. 

With the amount of students and clubs participating in this virtual event, no challenges were announced with the use of Pioneer Place. 

“I think more than anything the event just felt different,” Francey said. 

Regarding next semester’s Involvement Fair, plans are still being made with the SLCE staff to make events as safe as possible for students. 

“Depending on how things go by next semester with COVID-19, we could end up doing the fair online for the spring semester,” Francey said. “Hopefully by next fall, we can have the fair in person without any problems.”


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