If you attended Pack the Union in the Rensselaer Union this past weekend, you were probably already a part of—and quite involved in—a Union club.
What was supposed to be a way to explore the current offerings of the highly involved student club network here at RPI and a mechanism for clubs to earn valuable new members was instead simply a reason to force people out of bed too early on a Saturday. The Poly was excited and eager to meet new people and entrap those who walked by our booth, but out of the probably 10 people who even walked by our upstairs table, we only gathered four signs of interest. To be fair, our numbers may be skewed by the location, which seemed to be slightly less trafficked than downstairs.
Many reasons exist for the poor turnout of this semester’s activities fair. Mainly, it is because this fair is in the spring semester and does not have a thousand wide-eyed and excited freshmen eagerly waiting for their chance to immerse themselves in the student culture of the Institute. Without the constant advertisement of activities that is Navigating Rensselaer and Beyond, the spring fair did not stand a chance.
But even then, a little bit of publicity would have gone a long way; the advertising for the event was not that great. The only people who really knew about the event were those who received the e-mails through the club officer’s list (essentially, those already in a club.) Getting the word out to students has always been difficult for groups; students are varied and diverse and get their information regarding events in different ways. We understand that it’s difficult to reach out to the entire campus about any event and it’s especially difficult if the people you are reaching out to are not already involved, but more of an effort could have been made.
The final nail in the coffin was the time the event fair was held. Lasting only two hours and starting at 11 am, those who appreciate sleeping in on Saturday mornings missed out. Also, it was already a busy weekend, featuring Big Red Freakout! and Black Family Technology Awareness Day.
Still, the concept of a spring activities fair is all in all a good idea. It gives people a chance to see what clubs there are, and lets freshmen who took the first semester to settle in have a look around to see what RPI offers. However, this year’s event seemed to fall flat, mostly due to a lack of publicity and unfortunate scheduling.