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Involvement Fair draws hundreds of eager students

Published on September 15, 2021

Involvement Fair draws hundreds of eager students

The Student Involvement Fair and President's Picnic was catered by Eastern's food service provider Chartwells.

Dozens of clubs and hundreds of students filled the the Webb Lawn.

Representatives of the Student Government Association (SGA), including Vice President Matthew Mendolia ’22 (far left) and president Nathan Fontaine ‘22.

Clubs were spread across Webb Lawn to encourage social distancing.

Eastern Connecticut State University hosted its first in-person Student Involvement Fair and President’s Picnic since 2019 on Sept. 8, with approximately 500 students in attendance. Spanning Webb lawn, 75 clubs and organizations showcased their activities to recruit new members. Clubs participating ranged from the Student Government Association (SGA) to Women’s Rugby as students and staff interacted in the first major social event on campus of the year.  

One participating club was Key of She, a historically all-female acapella group at Eastern. Their president, Nina Griffin ’22, a Social Work major, hopes that the involvement fair helped spread news of the club’s September audition dates. Although in the past the group has been female-centric, Griffin encouraged all students interested to audition. The group hopes to host events as long as it’s safe to do so, says Griffin. “Most things have stayed the same. Concerts are invited only, and we have to wear masks when we sing, but really those are the only changes.”  

With the hardships of social distancing over the past year, students stopped by as many clubs as possible. Emily Sunderland ’25, a first-year student majoring in early childhood education and English explored the fair with a multitude of interests. “I like volunteer work, so groups like Habitat for Humanity and PAWS have really piqued my interest. I’m also looking into the knitting and education clubs.”  

Key of She president Nina Griffin '22 (left) sits with fellow club members.

Students sit in front of the J. Eugene Smith Library.

Eastern's club cheer team recruit new members.

Students enjoy donuts provided by Chartwells.

Emily Sunderland '25 explores the involvement fair.

For Sunderland, social connections are a top priority, especially considering her high school experience ended virtually. Luckily, she’s already finding success. “I’m really excited to meet people! I’ve already made great friends with people from my dorm building and classes, and I’m hoping to do the same with clubs!”  Sunderland explained that if anything, the pandemic is going to make students more eager to join clubs and socialize. “People have more incentive to go out; they don’t want to miss anything.” 

Eastern’s Student Government Association (SGA) made a point to advertise their goals for the school year. “Last year we focused on creating a more inclusive campus. This year we want to revitalize campus,” said Nathan Fontaine ‘22, the president of SGA with a major in history. “We want to reintroduce campus to everyone, especially prioritizing first-year students and sophomores who have never had a non-COVID college experience.”  

Matthew Mendolia ’22, a liberal studies major and vice president of SGA, says that the organization has a multitude of ideas for the upcoming school year, including a townhall to discuss the administration's new Title IX policy, as well as a COVID relief fund for clubs. “We want to promote them and lift them up.”  

Joshua Sumrell, assistant director of student activities, considered the event to be a major success, especially after the rain date was used for Hurricane Ida. Precautionary measures, such as spacing out the tables, allowed students to socialize safely. “Overall, the event was very successful and I am confident there will be a huge increase in student involvement for the fall 2021 semester.” 

Written by Molly Boucher

Categories: Student Activities