Club Activities Fair engages students with interactive displays and activities

It was around 1 p.m. on Thursday when cheers sounded from the wide walkway near the quad. A small audience of students clustered around the Veterans Club table to watch two participants stuff their faces with bagged barbeque pork.

They only had two minutes left to finish an entire MRE, a military Meal Ready to Eat, which included a side dish, snack and entree.

Unfortunately – or perhaps fortunately – neither student beat the seven-minute time limit. But the energized atmosphere from the competition lasted well beyond seven minutes during the club activities fair.

“For the clubs and the students as a whole, I think it’s a very good event,” said Veterans Club member and 30-year-old veterinary technology major Marc Gonzalez. “It helps get a showcase of who’s out here, what clubs are available on the actual campus itself, as well as kind of just showcasing what we do for fun and what we provide to not only our student body, our faculty members, but also in our community.”

The fair took place in the afternoon near the quad, with nine clubs displaying their projects and offering freebies at tables lining the walkway.

“The idea of the event is so that clubs can build more of their culture,” said Commissioner for Club and Events Board and 21-year-old sociology major Evan Nguyen. “The theme was homecoming, so clubs [were] supposed to promote what they’re about, or promote spirit.”

Each club provided interactive activities and engaging displays at their table. Nguyen compared the event to previous club activities fairs and said that clubs used to show up with just a table and a sign-up sheet.

“[Clubs] didn’t have VSA’s tri-card, they didn’t have MSA’s globe and everything, they didn’t have the engineering boats and all that stuff that was out, and vet tech didn’t have pets before,” Nguyen said.

The Vietnamese Student Association, which received the most votes for best club table, featured club members dressed in traditional Vietnamese clothing.

Students who voted for the best club table were given ten beans to delegate to their favorite tables, and the winning club was determined by how much its bean container weighed. The Veterans Club has won the $250 prize the past two years, but this year first-time winner VSA took the money and spirit trophy.

In addition to the food competition, the Veterans Club had a pull-up bar, which students used to test their physical fitness to earn prizes. At the Chi Alpha table students chatted with club members over cups of hot tea and cocoa while Chi Alpha Student Leader and undeclared major Josh Collier, 20, played guitar.

“People have been really fond of the idea of having some tea, having some hot chocolate,” Collier said. “Then we can talk about the Christian club and what we do at the club.”

Muslim Student Association and Solar Boat Club member Steve Hoang sipped his cup of hot tea from Chi Alpha while watching the Veterans Club food challenge.

Hoang said he enjoyed seeing each club’s personalities and the unique opportunities they present to students.

“You get to know your community,” Hoang said. “You get to do things outside of classes that could benefit either the community or helping others. And it could also make connections, for future reference.”

While students seemed satisfied in engaging with the clubs that did participate in the fair, Student Ambassador and 20-year-old art major Asia Jelks said that more clubs should have participated.

“A lot of clubs did participate. We should’ve had more, but you know the ones that are out here, I’m glad that they’re out here,” Jelks said. “The students seem to be enjoying it.”

Nguyen said that there wasn’t a lot of clubs at the fair because many were getting rechartered.

The newly-chartered clubs are “still getting their feet wet,” Nguyen said.

To join a club, visit the Student Life and Leadership Center in T-108 or email the club’s advisors, whose contact information can be found on the ClubsVue website.