After a year of being online, the Rutgers Involvement Fair returned on Tuesday to the streets of the College Avenue campus.
This time, nearly 670 groups participated in the fair, said Ryan O’Connell, assistant director of major events and programs. In comparison, 581 groups participated in Fall 2020 when the fair first went online.
“The last time we held the event in person, 2019, feels like a lifetime ago," O'Connell said. "We were mindful of the fact that with people returning to campus. It might be challenging to mobilize organizations in time and be ready for an event before the start of the semester. It turns out that groups and organizations were ‘all systems go’ though, which was great.”
The fair was designed differently to give students more space to breathe and engage with various organizations, O’Connell said. It spread to areas such as the Stonier Hall parking lot and Seminary Place as well as Voorhees Mall, where it was combined with Culture Fest, an event that usually takes place after the Involvement Fair.
Student leaders from various campus organizations shared their thoughts about participating in this involvement fair in comparison to virtual and pre-pandemic fairs.
Amanda Kang, a School of Engineering junior and president of the Rutgers Animation Club, spoke about the growth in engagement and interaction during the involvement fair. She said she saw more engagement just 10 minutes into this fair than in previous ones that were online.
“It's great to be able to talk to people who want to join the club face-to-face,” she said. “I think that online, it was pretty limiting because none of us knew how to really do the virtual tables.”
Saumya Mishra, a School of Engineering senior and vice president of the Rutgers Period Equity Project, said at least 10 people came to ask questions about her club before they had even set up.
“People are eager to come out and learn about more organizations and just finally (be) able to go back to campus,” she said during the fair. “The eagerness for people to actually learn about our organization really does make us very happy.”