Involvement Fair returns to UC: Campus, community help students find niche


Photo by: Austin Kemmerlin

Over 700 students took part in the Involvement Fair where over 60 campus and community organizations were put on display.

Jessica Imbimbo, Editor-in-Chief

On Wednesday, August 27, over 60 campus and community organizations were put on display at the Francis Marion University (FMU) Student Involvement Fair, which was held in the Smith University Center (UC) Commons.

The Involvement Fair allowed both new and returning students to see and learn about various groups and how they can be included in both on and off campus activities.

During the event, students walked into the UC to see the commons lined with booths.  There was something for everyone at the Involvement Fair; from sororities and fraternities, to the Chemistry Club and Baptist Collegiate Ministry.  Students were able to simply stroll through the aisles of booths and stop at whichever one peaked their interest.

According to Assistant Dean of Students Latasha Brand, well over 700 students took part in the Involvement Fair, which far exceeded the amount of student participation in previous years.  Brand has been coordinating the Involvement Fair since 2009 and recognizes the impact it has on campus life.

“[The involvement Fair] is a great way to find out what is available for students, and gives them an opportunity to connect with campus communities,” Brand said.

Some of the on-campus groups that had a booth at the fair included the University Programming Board (UPB).  The UPB provides a variety of programs designed to enhance campus life.  For example, the UPB had a hand in organizing most of the Welcome Week events held on campus, such as Dr. Wand’s hypnotist show and the FMU comedy house.

Various groups from the Florence community also had booths on display at the Involvement Fair.  Businesses such as Mary Kay, Girl Scouts of Eastern SC, TD Bank and Wells Fargo were just a few of the community organizations that claimed a stand at the Involvement Fair.

Freshman Bailee Watts thought the Fair was overwhelming at first, but after walking around and seeing the vast amount of things to on campus, she wanted to be included.

“I didn’t even know some of these [organizations] were here, and now that I can see them I know what I can get into.”  Watts said.  “I think it’s a good idea to have this.”

The Involvement Fair helps new students meet more experienced, returning students, which can help shake off the freshman jitters and provide newcomers with a sense of belonging.

Senior Casey Sanders knows the Involvement Fair can have a great influence on new students.  When she was a freshman, the Involvement Fair made Sanders eager to begin her college life as a Patriot.

“Everyone was super nice and gave me a lot of information about what’s here on campus and what I can get involved in,” Sanders said.  “By the end, I was a lot more excited about being at Francis Marion.”

During her first year at the Involvement Fair, Sanders learned about the various sororities and how to get involved. Now, three years later and an official sorority member, Sanders realizes the importance of holding this event.

“I think [the Involvement Fair] is an amazing asset to FMU; getting all the organizations out to the public and letting everyone know what we have,” Sanders said.

Director of Alumni Affairs and Annual Giving Julius Young has been working with the Involvement Fair since 2005 as part of the Student Alumni Association (SAA).  Young has played a part in the Fair for 17 years, since her began as a volunteer for the SAA in 1997.  Young sees how crucial getting involved is for all students at FMU.

“[Students] get to come here and shake hands with so many different organizations that they can be involved in,” Young said.  “The Involvement Fair opens up a flood gate of opportunities for students, especially the freshmen that are wondering, ‘How will I really fit in?’”