BGSU will hold its annual campus fest Thursday from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. to introduce students to 290 organizations, university offices, and external partners on campus.
There will be tables set up in the Bowen-Thompson Quadrangle, in the Union Oval and between Moseley Hall and the Education Building.
BGSU Director of Student Engagement Brian Heilmeier described campus fest as one of the most energetic and anticipated days of the school year.
“Campus is big, so when we have something that stretches all over campus, people are excited. People get really pumped about that,” Heilmeier said.
The primary goal of campus fest is to increase student involvement. Students get the opportunity to explore and meet a large variety of groups with different interests and opportunities. Some groups are mission-oriented, while others focus on building a community with similar people, Heilmeier said.
Heilmeier said campus fest allows current members of organizations to “sell their group with their own voice” rather than relying on an introduction by the university.
This allows campus organizations to increase their membership. Along with general members, several groups are also looking for students to fill vacant leadership positions.
The 2020 campus fest was virtual, so this year's in-person campus fest is especially important. First and second year students, as well as groups that were inactive last year, have the opportunity to introduce themselves and meet new people in a non-virtual setting.
Campus fest also benefits returning students. With the number of organizations on campus, nearly every hobby or interest has a group for it. Even students working the tables have discovered groups they’d never heard of before at campus fest, Heilmeier said.
Heilmeier, who is a BGSU alum, believes student involvement is “critically important” on college campuses.
“Time and time again, we have seen students who get involved are more likely to be successful,” he said.
Involvement in student organizations can help set an individual apart in their major, he said.
“When I graduated with 60 other people that had the exact same degree ... what was I going to do to set myself apart? I was a part of a number of organizations ... (so I was) able to deal with people and work with people, so I think the involvement piece can really help set a student apart from even other folks here at BG.”
Heilmeier described the planning process for campus fest as a “big undertaking.” There are a lot of moving parts and pieces that all need to come together. Each organization will have its own table and spot around campus.
COVID-19 and the Delta variant have influenced the planning process. The event will be held outside, and adjustments have been made to spread the tables out. While the spacing won’t be exactly 6 feet, there is a lot of space outside to distance the groups, Heilmeier said.
Although masks are not required, they are encouraged throughout the event. In particular, when interacting with the groups and talking over the table, wearing a mask is strongly encouraged, Heilmeier said.
Campus fest is a great way to get involved, but Heilmeier is aware that the day can be “overwhelming” for some students.
Campus fest is “just one tool to help people get involved,” he said.
There are also online directories and an involvement survey that can help students explore campus organizations. These resources are available at www.bgsu.edu/engage under the “Get Connected” tab.