Huge crowds gathered on Sept. 9 as the annual campus fest event welcomed new and returning students to 290 organizations.
The three-hour event covered the Union Oval and the Bowen-Thompson Quadrangle. The tables were organized with fraternities and sororities in between Moseley Hall and the Education Building, sports around the Kuhlin Center and University Hall and BGSU offices and departments around the BGSU letters.
The event focused on all students having opportunities for involvement. Senior Eman Bechara said many older students first discover and approach the Music Industry Club table in their later years due to never noticing it before.
“We’ve had people come up to us that are seniors that are like, ‘I didn’t even know this club existed, and I’m really happy that it does,’” Bechara said.
Due to last year’s disrupted school year, some clubs were inactive, and first year students were not physically introduced to school organizations. Instead, BGSU hosted a virtual campus fest.
This year’s campus fest was especially critical in getting students to explore involvement opportunities.
For smaller organizations such as MIC, the exposure from campus fest is vital in welcoming new members.
“Campus fest gives us a good platform for new students and old students to find out who we are and what we’re about,” Bechara said.
Every organization had decorated their table in some way. Some fraternities and sororities put up their Greek letters around their table, and many groups used specific colors to represent themselves. There were sign-up sheets on each table so new members could get information about the clubs they were interested in.
In order to incentivize visitors, many tables were giving out candy and prizes. There were free shirts, stickers, pens and bags. Some tables had prize wheels or various rewards for signing up for their organization.
Coupons to businesses in downtown BG were also distributed outside University Hall.
Other tables, including the Falcon Swing Society, played music and interacted with the crowd as a means of introduction. For Falcon Swing Society, campus fest was “really important because we are able to show a lot of people a style of dance that they aren’t aware of ... We’re able to interact with people and get people generally interested in stuff that they haven’t seen before,” sophomore Lizzy Mumford said.
Club sports teams were also searching for new members on Thursday. While some sports had requirements to join, many welcomed anyone who was interested in playing.
Junior Madi Maag from the women’s rugby team said her team benefits from campus fest as many students don’t know “what it is or know how to play,” so the team has a chance to welcome them and explain how they can teach new members the game.
Aside from new members, sports teams were also looking for support. Sophomore Khloe Yunker from the women’s hockey team said, “we like campus fest as a way to promote that we are a team and to get the word out that we are on campus, and you can come see our games, they’re free, and we’d love to see some familiar faces out there.”
In addition to learning more about campus organizations, campus fest creates a space for students to find other people with similar interests as them.
It is a place to make friends and “a good way to feel welcome,” Maag said. “It’s just nice to show really anyone on campus here that our club is welcoming, a good way to show that we’re friendly.”
In order to keep the event safe in regards to COVID-19, it was hosted outside, and while there was physical distance between tables, the sidewalks were crowded with students. Masks were not required, and students were able to talk across the tables mask-less if they chose to.
If a student was unavailable to attend campus fest, BGSU Director of Student Engagement Brian Heilmeier said there is information about BGSU organizations and how to get involved on www.bgsu.edu/engage under the get connected tab. There is also an involvement survey students can take to discover organizations that share their interests.