Club fair offers students opportunities

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Biology freshman Megan Hamre shows interest in the Chemistry Club on the UA Mall yesterday, as studio art freshman Adrienne Lobl looks on. Over 200 UA clubs displayed booths to gain membership for nearly 5 hours yesterday.

The largest club fair in over five years showcased more than 200 clubs and provided students with a variety of opportunities to get involved and feel connected on campus.

""I plan on going to post-grad school, and I need to do some volunteering,"" said chemistry junior Derek Mangelsdorf after stepping away from the chemistry club's table, which attracted many students with colorful beakers that bubbled over with vapor.

""They do a lot of cool things that you wouldn't really associate with chemistry, like going on a field trip to a brewery and looking at the chemistry behind making beer,"" he said.

Last year the university housed more than 600 clubs and organizations, according to Kevin Nutter, the coordinator of student involvement for the Center for Student Involvement and Leadership.

There are clubs for just about every aspect of life: religious, community service, martial arts, fraternities and sororities, dance, academic, frisbee, video games and even a surfers club.

""It is such a huge opportunity to the students,"" said Nutter. ""Having a purpose and a sense of belonging are two hallmark things that get you through and make you persevere to get to graduation.""

Should a student not find a club that he or she is interested in, one can start a new club altogether, like chemistry senior Tricia Ketchmark did with the Forensicats.

""We are a new club this year,"" Ketchmark said of the club, which focuses on forensic science. ""Our ultimate goal is to go to a national forensics convention. Currently, we are working on a road trip to the Phoenix crime lab.""

Many clubs focus on benefiting the community as well as club members, such as Best Buddies, Alpha Phi Omega and Camp Wildcat.

""This year we are tripling the size of our club,"" said biochemistry sophomore Emily Ricq of Best Buddies.

The mission of Best Buddies is to enhance the lives of people with intellectual disabilities by providing opportunities for one-to-one friendships, according to their pamphlet.

""We had so many volunteers last year that we couldn't get them all a buddy, said Ricq. ""It is rewarding to see that by being a friend to them, we teach them how to make friends and get more involved in the rest of society.""

APO is a co-ed community service fraternity that completed more than 2,100 hours of community service in Tucson last semester, according to their flyer.

""It's a way for people who want to do community service to find outlets for it,"" said Nicole Rasmussen, a chemical engineering senior. ""We find the events and we set them up and we are a part of what goes on.""

Camp Wildcat, a student-run nonprofit organization, was recruiting students to join their club, which takes underprivileged elementary and middle school students on camping trips.

""The camp is free for the kids and mentors,"" said Casey Edwards, an international studies sophomore.

Edwards said Camp Wildcat members enjoy a very flexible level of commitment.

""These are the best years of your life, right?"" said pre-business freshman Garrett Moedl. ""You have to get out there and have fun.""

The Elevation Ski and Snowboard Club members said they had a successful day of recruiting at the club fair.

""We've had people on bikes slam on their breaks when they saw our sign,"" said Drew Hollenback, an engineering sophomore.

Kellie Harrison, the club's president and a communications junior, said the club is trying to double its membership to about 400 members.

""We've had 50 people sign up in the last hour,"" Harrison said.

Salley Kwon, a biology and pre-pharmacy junior who attended the event, said she had one request.

""Maybe they could hand out water instead of ice cream,"" said Kwon. ""My fingers are sticky and now I'm thirsty.""

Yesterday's club fair is one of three that are planned to occur this year by the Student Organization Resource Services, a group within the CSIL.

Student clubs will receive official recognition from the UA Thursday at the student club and organization recognition ceremony in the North Ballroom of the Student Union Memorial Center.


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