Students find clubs, organizations to call home at the activities fair

Molly Bertz, freshman in agriculture communications, shares information about her club NAMA to fellow student Jacqueline Clawson, freshman in agriculture economics and business marketing, in the Union Grand Ballroom at the Wildcat Winter Expo on Jan. 28, 2016. (Emily Lenk | The Collegian)

The annual Wildcat Winter Expo attracted hundreds of students, new and old, to the K-State Student Union to browse the various opportunities for involvement in campus organizations and activities.

Students could browse over 130 campus groups and organizations on display throughout the Union Thursday night as the Office of Student Activities and Services hosted the annual winter activities fair.

“I think that getting involved will help me connect to the K-State community,” Dalton Dunn, freshman in horticulture, said.

The expo faced new challenges this semester as much of the Union has been affected by construction work as part of the Your Union renovation campaign. Bill Harlan, director of the Office of Student Activities and Services, said the expo had to turn several organizations away due to the limited space.

“We have 132 organizations represented at the fair, which would be a lot more, but we are totally out of space in the building,” Harlan said. “We booked the organizations on a first come, first serve basis.”

The activities fair was also affected by the weather as it was originally scheduled for Jan 22.

“The weather caused us to push the activities fair back, so we had a few organizations drop out,” Hanlan said. “But we had a waitlist of organizations ready to fill those spots.”

Matthew Myers, senior in physics and president of Kappa Alpha Psi, said the activities fair was essential to recruiting new members.

“It’s a great way of meeting people,” Myers said. “Unless you’re really going around campus during the day and actively telling people about the organization, you’re only going to spend time in your college or hall not really meeting new people or taking advantage of the opportunities there are on campus.”

Janelle Sparkman, junior in political science and communications chair for the women’s a cappella group Audacity, said the group relies on the activities fair to fill openings within the group.

“We want more girls because with the new semester, we have a lot of open spots, and we are always looking for people with a passion for singing,” Sparkman said.

Other organizations at the expo stated the importance of campus involvement beyond academics.

“It’s important to become involved with organizations because you get to meet a lot of different people, and it’s a good ‘in’ for you because it’s a network that you’ll get involved with,” Cheyanne Evans, junior in animal science, said.

Evans is the president of the Friends of Four Paws, an organization that works with a local animal shelter.

Students who participated in campus activities reported higher GPAs and better educational experiences, according to a 2008 study by the National Survey of Student Engagement.

“The most important reason we do (the activities fair) and the reason we started doing it both semesters, was because we think that it is important for any student to get involved in campus organizations,” Harlan said. “It’s a really good way of getting experience outside the classroom, making connections with students and faculty and finding some people that they really have some commonalities with.”

I'm Rafael Garcia, and I'm a 2019 K-State graduate in journalism and former editor-in-chief of the K-State Collegian. I believe that much of the world's problems come from a lack of understanding of other people, but by telling other people's stories and finding the good in the world, I think we can increase our understanding and appreciation of each other. Questions, comments, concerns, news tips? Email the Collegian team at