Pedestrian Walkway was buzzing with activity Friday night as students strolled through Welcome Week's Student InVOLvement Fair.
The event, organized by the Office of Student Activities, was a chance for campus organizations to recruit new members.
"The InVOLvement Fair is designed for students to find out what type of opportunities they have to get involved with student organizations, opportunities they have with different offices on campus and to get information about different businesses close to campus," Marie Hartke, graduate assistant in the Office of Student Activities said.
Booth after booth lined the walkway between Andy Holt Avenue and Volunteer Boulevard as hundreds of students made their way through the fair with bags full of pamphlets and free giveaways.
In the past, the InVOLvement Fair has been held in the afternoon, allowing students to pick up information on their way to or from class. The change to a nighttime scheduling of 7-11 p.m. on a Friday night made some participants skeptical. "At first, I was like, 'No. That's not a good idea,' but now I realize it's a little bit cooler out," Rhiannon Eitutis, junior in biochemistry, cellular and molecular biology, said. "I think it's just better this way actually."
The Humanities Amphitheatre was also the venue for some of Friday night's events. At 7 p.m., Super Art Fight began, and 10 p.m. marked the start of the first Vol Night Long event of the year. "We moved the fair to a Friday night so we could kind of have it in conjunction with some of the other events we have going on," Hartke said. "So, students can come here and then they have the opportunity to check out those events.
"Although some participants were hesitant about the event's date and time, others welcomed the change."I liked it," Micaha Hanson, a senior majoring in criminal justice said. "With classes during the day, it's hard to get our members out at the same time. This year it's not too bad. It's cooler. It's nicer."
Apart from a few issues with booth placement for some individuals, event organizers like Hartke seemed to have a handle on the large number of student and campus organizations that came out to the fair.
“You know, there’s always a few little things that you have to work out along the way, but everything’s gone pretty smoothly,” Hartke said. “We’ve been able to kind of address everything as we need to, and it has gone really well. I think that people are really enjoying themselves.”
Friday’s rainy afternoon had participants and attendees guessing about the success of the event, but the break in the clouds allowed the fair to go on as planned.
Neither the rain, nor the timing of the InVOLvement Fair seemed to keep students away from Pedestrian Walkway Friday night, and the event appeared to many organizers as a success.
“The turnout, I’d say, is almost better than it was last year, which is surprising because of the rain,” Hartke said. “But it’s a beautiful night, and I think it’s helped all the events bring out more people.”