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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Club fair set out to recruit students for fun activities

    Club fair set out to recruit students for fun activities

    Children’s cancer fundraisers, Quidditch mavens and enthusiasts with a modern twist on the pro-life perspective were among scores of UA clubs that drew the campus community to the UA Mall yesterday.

    The Spring Club and Organization Fair featured more than 90 associations based off and on campus. They set up booths on the Mall from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., intercepting students, faculty and staff between classes and on their way home.

    “”The weapons got our attention,”” said Gaby Wilson, political science senior.

    She and Zohra Yaqub, a Near Eastern studies graduate student and fellow jujutsu fanatic, spoke with representatives at the Bujinkan Yamaneko Dojo, a Tucson martial arts school that holds adult classes four days a week on the Mall.

    The organizations ranged from the philanthropic to the religious and beyond. Many looked to stock their memberships, while others enlisted temporary helpers for
    upcoming events.

    A booth for the UA’s branch of Up ‘Til Dawn, an affiliate group of the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, recruited individuals for a letter-writing drive March 1 in the Student Union Memorial Center.

    Jonathan Homan, a political science sophomore, said the branch is trying to raise $10,000 for children’s cancer research in an effort paralleling those at universities across the country.

    “”It’s a great cause,”” he said. “”You can’t go wrong here.””

    About 30 yards away, two students presided over a table decked out with bite-sized candy peppering the rim of a black, pointed witch’s hat, and the latest “”Harry Potter”” book erected high and proud.

    To passers by – muggles and the wizard-conscious alike – they asked: “”Do you want to play Quidditch?””

    The UA Quidditch Club, inspired by the game played in author J.K. Rowling’s acclaimed fantasy series, materialized for the first time this semester. It seeks at least 28 individuals interested in riding around in a non-flying version of the game, running around and straddling broomsticks in a mix of soccer, rugby and basketball.

    Club president John Putz got the idea when he learned, via a Facebook search, of the International Association of Quidditch.

    He then found out that teams had formed as close as Utah and Arizona State University.

    “”We were running around on broomsticks at our apartment complexes, and people were getting a little worried,”” said Putz, a psychology senior. “”So we decided to try something different.””

    Vice president Julia Britt said that when the club begins competition, it will likely do so on the Mall, although the club is trying to find a venue through the Department of Campus Recreation.

    “”Anyone can play, because, obviously, not that many people have played quidditch,”” she said.

    One attention-grabbing poster on display asked, simply, “”Do you want to die?””

    That belonged to the Transhumanism Club, a group interested in the use of technology to prolong and improve human life.

    It formed in August 2006 and puttered along with only five or six members until last August, when it participated in a fair.

    Due to its slogan-generating prowess, the group quadrupled its membership through only a day of pitches.

    “”Long life, to do what you want to do, may be the draw,”” said Richard Leis, club adviser and a staff technician at the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory.

    But, he added, “”students have a lot of fun just debating about the future, what might happen and what might not happen.””

    Indeed, the fair gave some clubs a good opportunity to do some rare community outreach.

    The Asian Bible Fellowship has been on campus for about 10 years, but the average UA student would be hard pressed to know as much, said Steve Zhou, a club member for the last year and a half.

    “”A lot of people don’t know about it,”” said Zhou, who said the Fellowship is open to all students, regardless of ethnicity. “”Unfortunately, we’re kind of a little secluded. We’ve kept to ourselves. We’re trying to break out a little bit.””

    Visitors were few and far between at many booths, and club members themselves frequently wandered about to get a look at their peers’ wares and attractions.

    Sam Asaki, a mechanical engineering junior and member of Camp Wildcat, got a bit more solicitation than he expected as he checked out booths on his way home from class.

    “”Two cops came up to me and asked me if this homeless guy over on a bench eating Eegees was bothering me,”” Asaki said.

    The Associated Students for the University of Arizona and the Center for Student Involvement and Leadership sponsored the fair.

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