For students looking to connect to campus, the Baker Center will host a student involvement fair tonight from 5:30-7:00 p.m., showcasing UT's various public policy student organizations.
The inaugural "Baker Center Connection" will feature groups such as the UT Issues Committee, Mock Trial and Baker Ambassadors. Free pizza will be provided.
Lisa Dicker, a junior in political science and Asian studies, helped organize the fair. She looks to provide policy-minded students an opportunity to find their niche in one of these groups.
"Students who have an interest in policy issues, governance or leadership will be able to find these organizations all in one place at the event," Dicker said. "Large involvement fairs can be overwhelming, but this will be catered toward students with specific interests."
Each group in the fair will have their own table in the Toyota Auditorium, and each will have a few minutes to explain the purpose of their organization. After the presentations, students will have the chance to visit the table that seemed most interesting to them.
Nissa Dahlin-Brown, assistant director of the Baker Center, hopes the fair will appeal to a wide range of people.
"Even if you have no interest in public policy or law but are passionate about current events, there are clubs for you," Dahlin-Brown said. "There are so many opportunities and we want students to be aware of them."
Dicker stressed the importance of these organizations that further public policy and service as well as political awareness.
"These organizations all bridge the gap between the university and the community," Dicker said. "The issues addressed or the life skills that can be acquired in these organizations can develop into interests and passions that can affect positive change both during and after a student's undergraduate career."
Dahlin-Brown thinks the Baker Center's first ever student involvement fair will succeed because students genuinely care about many of the clubs' interests.
"I continue to be amazed at just how many students are interested in these issues," Dahlin-Brown said. "We want to provide a platform where students can learn, as well as expose them to the many organizations we have at UT that fit their interests."
While students can get involved with any of the more than 300 student groups on campus, Dicker expressed the specific usefulness of public policy, service and government student organizations. In these clubs, students are encouraged to get involved because the subject helps transform students into well-rounded and aware citizens.
"Public policy and current issues affect every aspect of our daily lives and our future. As students we often forget that we are stakeholders in our community, state and nation," Dicker said. "We need to be aware of the impact these issues have on our lives, our opinions about these issues and the ways in which we can effect change."