Despite an intense torrent of surprise rain, weather could not deter students from seeping into the TRECS on Tuesday afternoon for RecFest, umbrellas in hand.
The walls of the basketball court were lined with booths offering sign-ups and contact information for every sport and athletic hobby imaginable: martial arts, running, fishing, gymnastics, swimming, rugby, lacrosse and ultimate frisbee, just to name a few. On the far end of the room, a rock wall stood towering above the crowd for a climbing workshop. Now a staple of the Welcome Week lineup, RecFest is a chance for all students, regardless of age, to check out UT's numerous sports clubs while eating complimentary Chick-fil-A.
Sean McCall, a graduate assistant for facilities at RecSports, explained that the value of RecFest stretches far beyond simply signing up for the fencing club or trying out sailing.
"We want all of our students to be aware of the resources they have here," McCall said. "Everyone is paying for these fees, they have great resources: the big TRECS, the aquatic center, outdoor pools, things like that. We want everybody to know that these are available."One such resource is the UT's Outdoor program. Representing UTOP at Recfest, Xan Pitzer, a junior in French and world business, listed the amazing, but often overlooked services the organization offers.
"We provide a lot of trips that students can go on," Pitzer said. "We also provide lessons. We have a full-service bike shop. It's not exactly a club, it's more like a constant program at UT and we're just spreading awareness."
In celebration of Welcome Week, UTOP is offering $5 events during the first month of school, including mountain biking, kayaking and caving expeditions.Pitzer said he recognizes RecFest's success and popularity.
"Look at this sheet," she said, pointing at one of the sign-up sheets. "We've already filled up two email sheets. It seems like people are really excited about the program."
For undecided freshmen like Sara Patterson, RecFest functions as a way to view all of her options at once and introduce herself to upperclassmen. Hoping to continue old passions and find new pastimes, Patterson said she came to peruse the array of activities on display.
"I wanted to see the kind of sports I could get involved in and what there is to do around campus," she said. "Just trying to figure out all the things I could do here."