ND Activities Night showcases hundreds of clubs, organizations
Courtney Becker | Wednesday, August 31, 2016
On Tuesday night, every academic, niche, athletic or service group students can get involved with at Notre Dame gathered in the Joyce Center Fieldhouse for Activities Night to attract new members for the 2016-2017 school year.
Mia James, program coordinator in the Student Activities Office (SAO), said all but three or four of the 350 tables available for groups were filled, and SAO had put in plenty of effort over the summer and the beginning of the school year to prepare group leaders for the night.
“Logistically it just takes a lot of organization and time, and really focused time to make sure you’re not disseminating any information that’s incorrect. Because if the one thing that they read is the wrong thing, then that’s a problem,” James said. “All of the information needs to be really focused and correct so that they can be successful when they get here.”
Certain groups came up with tricks to combat the confusion having thousands of students in one building creates. Junior Will Markley, co-president of the Entrepreneurship Society, brought QR codes as an alternative for students waiting in line to type their information into a computer.
“If you have a QR scanner on your phone, you can put it over that, and it will take you to the survey on your phone. That way if there’s a line for the computer, you can just do it on your phone,” Markley said. “Our main goal tonight is to try to get as many people to that first meeting as possible, so we can really introduce the club. Because it’s kind of hard to teach people what the club’s about in a 10-second interaction at a crowded Activities Fair.”
James said SAO came up with new ways to attract students to the event and encourage them to explore the different floors of the JACC to talk to as many groups as possible.
“One of the things that I changed is we ordered fro-yo this year,” she said. “With the construction going on around campus and some of the things that are going on, there wasn’t a total guarantee of some of the spaces we were going to have and how people were going to enter. And so [I was] just doing the best that I could to make sure that all of the floors and all the places people could go were fun and attractive for them to go to.”
Group leaders also took steps to catch students’ eyes. Senior Mason Zurovchak, president of PrismND, said the organization’s table was decorated with rainbow attire in order to best take advantage of the opportunity to attract a large number of students in a short amount of time.
“I think for any organization or club on campus, a night like Activities Night where you can get heavy foot traffic and just get the attention of people for even just a split second … is a really great way to connect with people because it opens the door to future dialogue,” Zurovchak said. “It’s kind of just a great way that’s already built in to the start of the year to grab people’s attention whether you’re a freshman or an upperclassman.”
Some groups that are less immediately recognizable for first-year students took a more aggressive approach to attracting students. Senior Amanda Bartolini, executive producer for the Pasquerilla East Musical Company (PEMCo) said she tried to take advantage of any sign of interest from passing students.
“We’re a musical theater group so we’re kind of a niche group, not everybody is going to be interested, but if their eye lingers for a second on the words ‘musical theater’ we’re going to try to talk to them and get them interested,” Bartolini said. “We’re telling them about our club and our future events … [and] just trying to be a friendly presence.”
Freshman Elizabeth Smith appreciated students having the initiative and passion to recruit her to various groups.
“It’s kind of overwhelming, but I like that everyone’s here and you see how passionate people are about the clubs they’re in,” Smith said. “Everyone’s like, ‘Come join this club, it’ll be fun just to join.’ … Some of them are like, ‘Hey, have you ever played Frisbee? That’s okay, you don’t have to, come join.’”
Freshman Darrell Adams said he enjoyed being able to explore the JACC without the pressure of having to reach out to certain clubs on his own.
“It takes the pressure off of me to have to reach out to people because they’re reaching out to me, so it makes things a lot easier on my part,” Adams said. “Really I’m just kind of walking around exploring.”
Sophomore Sabrina Barthelmes said she was happy to have the opportunity to go to Activities Night as a returning student to explore even more opportunities she heard about after the event last year.
“There were a couple of clubs that I wanted to re-sign up for and then one or two that I’ve heard about from friends so I thought they’d be cool to sign up for this year,” Barthelmes said. “I’m really glad it’s not just for [first-year students] because there were definitely some clubs that I’d heard good things about from friends last year that I wanted to get involved with this year.”
James said Activities Night is not only one of SAO’s most successful events, but also shows off the Notre Dame students’ spirit of involvement.
“ … it’s a true showing of how involved Notre Dame students are, both as upperclassmen who are staffing the tables and how interested our first year students are to be here,” she said. “We have hundreds and hundreds of tables and thousands of students who come to participate and I just think it’s a really valuable and true showing of what the Notre Dame student body is like.”