Involvement fair is held using virtual platform

Jessica GuerrucciEditor-in-Chief

The Student Involvement fair comes as a kick-off to a new semester, usually taking over the academic quad. This year, for the first time, the event was held virtually.

The virtual event, according to Daphne Alston, assistant director of the office of Student Involvement, still drew in 1,110 students and club members on the platform Airmeet.

“That’s really good for it to be a virtual program,” said Alston. “I mean at any given time there were at least 300 to 350 that were there at the fair which is awesome.”

The virtual fair consisted of “tables” that represented different student organizations on campus and students could go from table-to-table and web-chat with the leaders of different clubs.

Despite the event not being in-person, Alston said she has received kind emails from club leaders and first year students saying they had a good time and it was an interesting way of getting involved and meeting people.

Throughout the fair, Alston and Eric Lacharity, associate director of the office of Student Involvement, would check in with students, shout out organizations and do giveaways by asking students to be the first one to type an answer into the chat.

Some of the giveaways were geared toward first-year students because they are required to attend the fair, however, Alston said the content she prepared was made for everyone looking to getting involved.

For it being the first time using Airmeet, Alston said it went smoothly and she heard from few students who were having technical difficulties.

Child specialist major, Tyla Narcisse, a freshman, said she had bad internet connection on her end, but she was able to see one of the live chats done by Alston and Lacharity.

“I want to get involved in the school since I was involved at my high school,” she said.

Being a first-year student, she said it can be hard to get involved because she is used to being at a smaller school and Southern is bigger, but she is finding her way.

In addition to the involvement fair, Narcisse said her INQ professor helps let her know what is happening on campus and activities that she can get involved in.

Ariana Taylor, a sophomore, was representing ProCon at the fair, and said she was trying to bring students to her table by advertising the club in the chat.

While it was harder to get people to come to her table, once they did it was easier, but the face-to-face aspect was missing.

“I think that it was the best we could do,” said Taylor. “I don’t know what other option there was that could have possibly done a better job of stimulating the involvement fair virtually, because obviously we can’t have that many people in one place.”

Still, Taylor said she was able to engage with students .In the six years that Alston has done the clubfair, she said it always it sunny out, but the one year it rained it was virtual, which she said was crazy.

Even with limitations, she said Student Involvement is doing the best they can to make students feel connected to campus.

“The club fair is usually the starting point of ‘alright let’s hit the ground running,’” said Alston. “I’m excited to see what’s going to happen after, that when clubs really get going.”

Photo credit: Jessica Guerrucci

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