350 groups participate in SAO’s annual Activities Night
Catherine Owers | Tuesday, September 1, 2015
More than 1,400 students stormed into the Joyce Athletic and Convocation Center (JACC) for Activities Night in the first 15 minutes of the event, student activities program coordinator Mia James said. Activities Night is hosted by the Student Activities Office (SAO) every fall to allow new and returning students the opportunity to join clubs and organizations on campus and in the South Bend community.
“It’s so important to get connected to your campus and the community outside,” James said at the event. “It’s a true showing of how involved Notre Dame students want to be, that it’s been 37 minutes, and we’re flooded with people.”
Between 3,000 and 4,000 students attend Activities Night every year, and the event expanded its layout this year to allow for a easier navigation, James said. Clubs and organizations set up tables in the Monogram Room and Heritage Hall, in addition to the tables in Field House in the main level of the JACC.
“Last year, we experimented with a new layout, and the students were able to walk more and talk more,” she said. “We have about 300 Notre Dame organizations and clubs here and about 50 campus and community partners.”
Pauline Hickey, German Club president, said she hoped to gain new members for the club by emphasizing the fun events club members can participate in.
“The great thing about German Club is that we don’t have a ton of weekly meetings you have to attend,” she said. “We have a few big events, like Oktoberfest, which we’re partnering with Morrissey to host on South Quad. We’ll also have pretzel baking, a ‘Sound of Music’ sing-a-long and a trip to the Christkindlmarket in Chicago.”
The German Club currently has roughly 30 members, Hickey said, but hopes to raise its numbers to about 50 members who will continue to celebrate German culture.
“People don’t realize you don’t need to speak German to join the club,” she said.
Juwan Bepo, the African-American Ministry intern with Campus Ministry, said although Campus Ministry has already established a significant presence, it has a table at Activities Night to encourage students to sign up for its weekly newsletter and so they can learn about programs, Masses and choirs.
“We can never have too many people sign up,” she said. “And the interns at the table are welcoming and giving off a good vibe.”
Freshman Brady McLaughlin said he was looking to join groups similar to those he participated in during high school, and he liked that Activities Night showed that Notre Dame had clubs “for pretty much anything.”
“In high school, I was involved in cross country and track, National Honor Society and Campus Ministry,” he said. “I’m also looking for one or two new activities to try.”
Sophomore Erin Flynn said she was also looking to branch out and join more campus groups.
“I’m here to find out ways to get involved in every aspect of Notre Dame,” she said. “I signed up for a few clubs last year but didn’t go to many meetings, which is something I regret. … I’m also looking to join more things oriented around my major, with engineering and computer science.”
James said SAO advertised Activities Night with posters, through social media, and in The Week@ND, a weekly email newsletter sent to Notre Dame students, staff and faculty, as well as advertising to Saint Mary’s and Holy Cross students.
“We wanted a good balance of making sure people knew when and where Activities Night would be, but not shoving it in your face,” she said.