As the 2016 Union Activities Fair kicked off on Thursday, September 1, over 2,100 RPI students flocked to the Armory to explore over 218 clubs and organizations that well presented themselves.
Wearing colorful club shirts, different club members had been setting up their stands since 4:30 pm that afternoon, bringing numerous project boards and even various items to give away in order to attract more students’ attention. By 6 pm, most clubs were already ready for this largest-annual club showcase. Student associations expressed the spirits of their cultures with food and accessories. Athletic clubs showcased their skills with members interacting with other students, throwing balls and displaying equipment, the physical actions delivering the essence of those distinctive sports. Arts clubs presented their core themes and aesthetics through exhibitions of their art work and live performances. Other clubs, such as UPAC lights, that chose a live light show to draw people’s focus, all developed plans that fit them the best.
Additionally, the science and engineering organizations have always been one of the most popular club categories among Rensselaer students. RPISEC; Design, Build, and Fly; Embedded Hardware Club; and more had lines of students trying to sign up in front of their stands. However, the most popular clubs were the gaming clubs. A gaming screen at the side of the arena turned out to be the most crowded space. Swarms of students gathered around the screen to either wait to play the game or simply enjoy watching others play.
In the Rensselaer Union Executive Board’s early planning period, concerns were expressed about the Armory’s capacity, and the ability to handle RPI’s largest freshman class yet of over 1,700 students. To address the issue, only three representatives were allowed for each club, which was followed by clubs, though the restriction was later relaxed. Help from both student and Union staff made the Fair, as President of the Union Chip Kirchner ’17 put it, an “overwhelming success.”
Despite that some students mentioned at the end of the Activity Fair that, due to their schedules, they were not able to come until the very end, many first-year students and upperclassmen all expressed the helpfulness of the Activity Fair. Adam Sequera ’20 described it as a “very useful outlet for finding new opportunities, and sifting through the many things Rensselaer has to offer.” Despite the Activity Fair coming to a close, the Union hopes that students keep exploring different opportunities and experiences on campus.