In theory, the involvement fair is a fantastic idea. Every student organization you could possibly imagine is under one roof for three days. There’s free stuff (most importantly candy) and a genuine opportunity to get involved at Penn State.
That being said, the involvement fair often turns into a hellish experience: the throngs of overwrought freshmen, the zealous club members that hunger for new members, the bombardment of flyers, free mugs, and who knows what else.
While a change in the entire layout of the involvement fair is quite impossible at this point, there are some ways to make it through the activities from today through Thursday without having a panic attack.
Here are some tips to survive Penn State’s 2014 Involvement Fair:
1. Go alone.
This one goes out to all the freshmen that decide to tag along with the rest of their floor to check out the fair’s offerings. I promise you, you will not look like a loser if you walk through the involvement fair alone. On the contrary, it’s actually a good thing. If you go stag, you can actually find clubs that you’re interested in, not just the ones that your new friends like.
2. Leave the backpack at home.
I know, it’s tempting to hit up the involvement fair right after class. But the involvement fair is as packed as a mosh pit at Warped Tour. Your backpack takes up just as much space as a small person — and that space adds up. Plus, you don’t have to worry about whacking people (which is a big problem with my backpack).
3. Abide by traffic rules.
Just like there are unspoken rules for walking through campus, there’s a traffic pattern to the involvement fair as well. There are two middle lanes — that’s where the movement happens. If you want to get in or get out, stick to these areas. If a club’s poster catches your eye, for the sake of everyone around you, pull over. You won’t get shoved away from your potential involvement soulmate, and others can continue on their merry way.
4. Go HAM on listservs.
It never hurts to sign up for multiple clubs’ updates. You never know where you’ll find your place here, so try out a variety of organizations. Just make sure you unsubscribe from the ones you don’t end up liking.
5. Keep an open mind.
Like I said before, it never hurts to sign up for a club you wouldn’t imagine joining. Penn State is a big place, and your home might just be with the Nittany Divers or the Philosophy Club.
With that, I wish you good luck in all of your involvement fair doings. It can be a pretty intimidating place, but hopefully these tips will make this year’s involvement fair a little less anxiety-inducing.