Feedback will help shape future fairs
Story and photos
By Michael Lear-Olimpi
Knightly News Co-Adviser and Editor
What was old was new – but not again, because this was a first – when the quarterly club fair was held in the evening, for two hours, on the first floor of ATEC, on July 12.
From 4 to 6 p.m., about 100 students, and faculty, staff and administrators dropped by the lobby in the first floor of ATEC (the Advanced Technology Education Center), between the Knight & Day Cafe and the Conference Center at Central Penn College, and in the conference center hallway, to get information on student clubs.
“We’ll see how it goes,” Activities Director Adrienne Thoman said of the late-afternoon/early-evening fair. “We’re trying this to offer more students the chance to attend, now that Common Hour isn’t Common Hour anymore.”
The club fair has usually been held from noon or so until about 1 p.m., but that is the same time Common Hour, an open presentation by a guest or Central Penn speaker, occurs. Many students, faculty and staff attend Common Hour. Faculty often offer their classes extra credit for attending Common Hour, making an assignment of writing a report or paper about the presentation.
“This way, I hope more continuing-ed(ucation) students can come, and students who can’t make it to the fairs held earlier in the day,” Thoman explained.
Sixteen clubs, and two organizations – the Pennsylvania State Employee Credit Union (PSECU) and the women’s soccer team – set tables up. Club representatives and advisers told fair-goers about what the clubs do, and solicited memberships. Sign-up sheets were on the tables, along with displays of what the clubs do.
PSECU, a longtime partner of Central Penn that supports student and other college functions, and maintains a year-round presence in ATEC to offer students and employees information on banking services, did that at the club fair.
Thoman also changed this term’s club-fair menu. Usually, pizza – though sometimes long sandwiches cut into portion-sized sections – chips or other snack food, and soda or water, have been available for free to students who fill a “passport,” a small sheet of paper, with signatures of club members or advisers when they visit a club booth.
When the passport was filled, students got food and drink, though no one at a fair ever was denied refreshment, even if a passport wasn’t filled with signatures or other proof a student had visited all club tables.
This year, Knight & Day Cafe workers exchanged a heaping helping of chicken wings, with as many french fries as students desired, or fish fillets (and wings), and a drink, for a ticket fairgoers got from Thoman after they surrendered their club-fair passports to her.
“They’re great,” a student said as she munched a huge spicy red sauce-slathered wing on her way out to the sunbaked patio.
Members of the Central Penn Players drama club were perky about the fair.
“We’ve had a lot of people stop by,” club president and corporate communications major Morgan Littleford said. “Not many have signed up, but it’s only 5 o’clock.”
More students stopped by during the fair and some did sign up.
At the Knight Writers creative-writing club table, President Danielle Payton, legal studies, and Vice President Mercedes Reddick, business administration, were busy telling stoppers-by about the club.
“Fourteen people signed up, and seven came to the (club) meeting,” adviser Prof. Maria Thiaw said.
The revived Hispanic American Student Association (HASA) table was decked out in the flag of Cuba and the flag of Puerto Rico (this link is the U.S. government portal to Puerto Rico’s page; to connect to the Puerto Rican government’s site, in Spanish – which Google will translate to English – click here).
“We’re just starting again,” HASA President Eliz Milanes, a criminal justice administration major, said. “People have shown interest. We are a club for all Latino students, but anyone can join.”
Milanes and club Vice President Amor Duran, communication, was also at the table.
A college-family affair
Faculty, besides club advisers, also came to the fair, as did academic administrators.
Vice President of Academic Affairs and Provost Dr. Linda Fedrizzi-Williams made the rounds.
“I’m stopping at all the tables,” Fedrizzi-Williams said at the Knightly News Media Club table. “I’m an honorary member (of the media club).”
Fedrizzi-Williams holds a bachelor’s degree in communication and a master’s degree in organizational communication, and has taught communication.
Athletics Director Dave Baker was on hand, as was Dr. Melissa Wehler, dean of the School of Humanities and Sciences, and others.
Thoman distributed an email survey to club attendees and advisers for input on the new club time and location. Results are pending.
Information about Central Penn clubs and activities is available here.
Prof. Lear-Olimpi is co-adviser of the Knightly News Media Club.
To comment on this story or to suggest a story, contact TheKnightlyEditors@CentralPenn.edu.