The spring semester’s Student Involvement Fair (SIF) was hosted by Leadership Engagement and Experiential Development (LEED) on Feb. 3 in the Ralph S. O’Connor Recreation Center. The event provided students with the opportunity to explore and meet hundreds of student groups on campus, ranging from dance teams to volunteer and advocacy groups.
Students reported difficulties with the organization of the fall semester’s SIF, citing problems with overcrowding that made it difficult to move freely throughout the event.
In an email to The News-Letter, LEED Senior Director Calvin Smith explained that during the fall semester SIF, student groups had to come early to pick their tabling spot. To improve organization this semester, all groups were assigned a booth number and location by LEED before the start of the event.
In an interview with The News-Letter, freshman attendee Jaswanth Vandrasi addressed this difference in the event’s organization.
“I didn’t really know what to look for in the fall,” he said. “This one... seems a bit more organized than the previous one.”
Vandrasi added that spring SIF provided him with the opportunity to speak with clubs he did not know about prior to the event.
Although the fall SIF was held in the same space as the spring SIF, students and student organization leaders remarked that there appeared to be more space and less crowding due to a reduction in the number of student attendees compared to the fall.
In an interview with The News-Letter, freshman Matteo Betancourt, the April events coordinator for the Diverse Sexuality and Gender Alliance, noted this decrease in student attendees.
“Our turnout has definitely been less than what it has been in the fall,” he said. “As you can... there are a lot less groups.”
Junior Mazin Elshareif attended SIF as a representative of the Hopkins Emergency Response Organization (HERO), and stated that HERO’s main goal at SIF is to ensure the student body is aware that they can call HERO for a response to any medical emergency. He speculated that the lower turnout resulted from a decrease in advertising in an interview with The News-Letter.
“I feel like spring SIF is not advertised as heavily as fall SIF,“ he said. “But once you start seeing the line outside it usually goes pretty well, so I have no complaints other than that.”
Smith stated that LEED actually put up more lawn signs and banners around campus for the spring SIF. He claimed that electronic communications with students were similar to previous events, and that LEED office sent weekly messages about the program. He added that it is typical for the spring SIF to have less attendees than the fall SIF.
In an interview with The News-Letter, sophomore Cameron Fleming, a member of the Hopkins Outdoors Club, reacted to the decreased turnout.
“I definitely think last semester was more crowded, but I am happy with the amount of people we have signed up for this semester,“ she said.
Junior Layla Salomon, president of the Black and Blue Jay, described her organization’s goals for SIF.
“Our main goal... is basically to branch out and get more people to join,“ she said. “Since we are comedy [and] writing, the more ideas and perspectives and jokes the better.”
Salomon added that the event’s overall turnout was better than she expected.
Sophomore student attendee Sreenidhi Sankararaman reported enjoying SIF and having the opportunity to get to know many of the clubs on campus. She described her experience at the event in an interview with The News-Letter.
“I think it has been good,“ she said. “It’s been a little tiring, but also very fun.”
Yana Mulani contributed reporting to this article.
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