Students prepare for new year at activities fair

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Students prepare for new year at activities fair

By Conor McAteer / For The Pitt News

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Pitt students rushed up Cardiac Hill to the Petersen Events Center this weekend, though basketball season hasn’t yet started.

Students filled the Peterson Events Center Sunday afternoon to sign up for email lists and join organizations at the Activities Fair, which rounded off freshmen orientation week. The annual fair invites all students — especially first-year students — to gather information on groups they may want to join. 

Student involvement is the cornerstone of the fair, which highlights opportunities in clubs, academic departments and work study jobs. 

“We’re really just trying to get people involved in something extracurricular,” said Gina Scozzaro, business manager of the Student Organization Resource Center.

The fair drew 350 organizations out of the more than 400 clubs registered with SORC and Scozzaro estimated that between 5,000 and 7,000 students attended.

“I usually order about 5,000 maps and we ran out within the first hour,” she said.

Although a variety of clubs registered, Scozzaro noticed a spike in service-related organizations, with about 60 different clubs present.

Among groups attending was Panthers Take Back the Tap, a group dedicated to reducing the use of bottled water, specifically on campus usage of bottled water..

“[Tap water] is healthier for you, there’s no environmental impact [from] it,” said Take Back the Tap vice president Nick Johnson, a sophomore and mechanical engineering major.. “What we try to emphasize to people is that this is just one issue that we’re really trying to make an impact on instead of trying to dabble and win a lot of different other things.”

The fair is important for the recruitment process of Panthers Take Back the Tap, which Johnson said prides itself on closeness between members.

It’s also a chance for new groups to get exposure  — a draw for members of the Pitt Computer Science Club, which formed over the summer. 

“We’ve at least gotten 50 people today and hopefully more,” the club’s founder Joel Roggeman, a junior computer science major, said. “We’ve been posting a lot of stuff on Facebook groups and advertising as much as we can online, but for all the new freshmen that are coming in, having a table available to just talk to them and give them our spiel in person brings in a lot more members than just posting things.”

Although the activities fair was open to all students, the majority of those who attended were incoming freshmen.

Freshman Erika Muren said that she went to the activities fair because she was already interested in joining student organizations before she came to Pitt. At the fair, Muren signed up for various sports teams, religious organizations and academic-related clubs. 

“It was really nice because the clubs were laid out really well where you could get around and see everything,” she said. “I liked how they had a whole bunch of different clubs that you could go visit.”

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