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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Clubs camp out on Mall

    Tahern Jones, chemistry senior and president of the Chemistry Club, speaks with freshmen, Sonia Leros, a pre-pharmacy major, right, and Andrea Martinez, a chemistry major, about the many different events the Chemistry Club puts on every year.
    Tahern Jones, chemistry senior and president of the Chemistry Club, speaks with freshmen, Sonia Leros, a pre-pharmacy major, right, and Andrea Martinez, a chemistry major, about the many different events the Chemistry Club puts on every year.

    After some careful maneuvering around the UA Mall Wednesday, where sales representatives entice students to buy their product with stickers, lollipops and pens, campus clubs and volunteer organizations reeled in prospective students for a new semester at the Student Involvement Fair.

    “”We have over 500 clubs at the UA,”” said Pete Pereira, part of the advisory staff and a club coordinator for Associated Students of the University of Arizona. “”We can’t put all 500 out there, and we don’t want to pick and choose who gets to be, so the first 140 that answer got first come-first serve.””

    Around a quarter of the campus clubs responded to an e-mail sent out through the Listserv inviting them to show up with tents and visuals, as they try to rope in interested members and students new to the university looking to get involved, Pereira said.

    Most who signed up for tables on the mall were pre-existing clubs that were given priority, but many were brand new clubs just trying to get started doing what they like to do, he added.

    Jon Reed, an environmental science freshman, was one of these entrepreneurs who, along with friends, decided to start a bowling club that is set to meet every Wednesday for games at Golden Pin Lanes.

    “”We love bowling,”” Reed said. “”So we wanted to start a club and go bowling every week.””

    In addition to campus clubs, outside organizations participated in the fair as well, expecting members of the student population would be good candidates for their respective causes.

    Jen Spencer, the program manager for One-On-One, said that many UA students, as well as people from neighborhood associations and churches, volunteer each year. One-on-One is a program which has served Tucson and Pima County for the past 10 years, partnering mentors with at-risk children to help them stay out of trouble.

    “”There’s a lot of stuff nowadays that kids can get involved in that are negative activities, and if they have something positive going on in life, they’re more likely to stay on a positive track,”” Spencer said. “”It’s good to have students (in extracurricular activities), because many of them don’t get the chance to go to college and many live fairly close to the UA and don’t even know it’s here because they don’t think it’s an option.””

    Even more important than students becoming involved is for them to take the time to get to know all there is to know about the organizations and clubs they have access to – one of the reasons the UA holds this event on the mall each year, Pereira said.

    “”I think students should not be shy and go up to tables and ask questions, if they have some interest,”” he said. “”That way, they might get a feel for the students in the club.””

    Throngs of students passed in and out through the tents as they hurried to and from classes, but many stopped to ask information along the way.

    Breanna Real, a pre-physiology freshman, said that is exactly what she was doing while cruising various tables on the mall, putting out her hand every so often to accept a flier.

    “”(I’m looking for) anything and everything,”” Real said. “”Something to broaden my horizons.””

    Real said she hadn’t been very involved throughout high school, so she sought the opportunity to do so now while in college.

    One thing that Real and other students were wary of when looking for potential involvement were time commitments. Real said she did not want to commit to anything that would take up too much of her free time.

    But what a student puts in is usually what they get out, and getting involved despite taking 24 credits has not been something Mounir Koussa, a mathematics sophomore, regrets. On top of her heavy courseload, Koussa is also the chapter president for Best Buddies, an organization that pairs together college students and people with intellectual disabilities who will benefit from their friendships.

    “”It’s one of the most fulfilling things you’ll have ever done,”” Koussa said, and referring to Best Buddies added, “”It’s a really great program. It changed my life, and I would be lying if I didn’t say that I probably wouldn’t be who I am today.””

    Geoff Esposito, a political science junior and a member of the Young Democrats club on campus, said involvement is advisable for students, especially in times when the economic atmosphere lends an opportunity for students to dispute such issues as cost and availability of student loans.

    “”There are a lot of issues that are really important for everyone,”” Esposito said. “”But I think it’s kind of important for students to get active and to be involved with their community so that they can effect change.””

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