By Erin Maxwell || News Editor
For the first time in a year, brightly colored signs studded Hartman Green, each representing a unique student-run organization. The excitement was palpable before the event began, as club members decorated rows of tables in hopes of attracting new students. Like most annual traditions, the Student Involvement Fair was canceled last year, leading to what some club leaders described as a “crisis of involvement”. A combination of virtual isolation and remote learning made organizations’ numbers dwindle, especially among the freshman and sophomore classes. The only outreach opportunity most clubs had was in the form of an email that they hoped would not get lost in the inboxes of their potential members.
The Student Involvement Fair is one traditionally geared towards first-year students, but the return of the now sophomore and junior students to campus flooded the fair with excited faces of all ages. As the sun began to set, students converged from all directions to meet exuberant club leaders and members for the opportunity to get involved.
“The campus finally feels alive,” one sophomore said. “I had no idea most of these clubs existed, so it’s cool to see everything come out of the woodwork.” This year’s fair represented 97 student-run organizations ranging from club sports to cultural groups, ensuring that there was something for everyone. “I’ve been putting my name on every list,” one first-year student exclaimed, “I need to make up for lost time!” With arms full of pamphlets, stickers, and swag, students were reminded of the sheer diversity of Franklin and Marshall’s interests, and the size of the student body they hadn’t seen beyond a screen.
“I’m proud of the turnout of organizations,” said Gregory Heilbrunn, F&M Club Council Associate Chair and the organizer of the event. “It was great to see people again, get the new students involved, and help organizations gain more members.” Even more impressively, out of the 97 clubs registered, none were missing, making this fair one of the most representative and highly attended club fairs in the College’s history.
Smiling faces and long sign-up lists brought life back onto the green, giving hope to students that their campus could once again be the vibrant community they knew and loved.
Erin Maxwell is a junior and the News Editor for The College Reporter. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org