As they flowed into the Student Union Ballroom on a recent afternoon, curious MTSU students were treated to a full room of information booths representatives from the myriad student organizations available on the Blue Raider campus.
The Center for Student Involvement and Leadership held its spring Student Organization Fair, which drew about 75 student organizations who reserved space to set up informational booths and in some cases demonstrations in hopes of attracting new members.
Jackie Victory, director of the Office of Student Organizations and Service, said this marks the third year for the spring fair, and while she was pleased with the hundreds of students who stopped by during the three-hour event, the organizations on hand represented a sampling of the 350 or so such student groups on campus.
“What we want to do is showcase what there is to do on campus, to get students plugged in to, at a minimum, their departmental organizations, but then we want to get them involved in other things as well because we want this to feel like home to students,” Victory said.
Here’s a video recap of the Jan. 24 event:
From various campus ministries to the Student Government Association and from sports clubs to clubs catering to intense gamers, the spring fair offered a wide range of student groups whose representatives shared brochures, free snacks and a variety of swag to entice attendees to stop by for a quick conversation and even provide contact information for follow ups.
Bryan Long, a sophomore photography major from Murfreesboro, was initially a graphic design major before the Photo Society of MTSU piqued his interest. The group meets weekly to discuss topics such as photography techniques, take field trips to practice their skills or perhaps work in the dark room together.
Members don’t have to be photography majors, which is sort of the point.
“It kind of lets you get a chance to try out some of the things you would get to do if you were a photo major, but if you’re not, you get a chance to work in the Photo Building and see what’s in there,” said Long, vice president of the group.
Alecia Miller, a freshman criminal justice major from Clarksville, Tennessee, heard about the fair from her friend Celeste Brown, a freshman nursing major also from Clarksville. Miller didn’t know what to expect, but afterward felt her time was well invested.
“It was really informational. I really liked it,” she said, holding information she picked up about the Alpha Kappa Psi business fraternity, which she plans to join.
“I didn’t know we had that many different organizations on campus.”
MTSU senior Zack Looney, a history major/archeology minor from Franklin, Tennessee, is using his last semester to help further establish MT Greens, the university chapter of the national Green Party that launched during the fall semester.
Although the party’s long-shot nominee Jill Stein wasn’t successful, her candidacy provided an alternative choice in a bitterly divisive election season when the campaigns of the major party candidates didn’t resonate with many among the millennial generation.
“We really just wanted to bring a third party voice into the mix here at MTSU,” said Looney, who is scheduled to graduate in May.
“There were a couple of students who got together and we realized the Republicans and the Dems both didn’t represent the way that we felt politically, so we came together … and we were able to form.”
Looney said the group worked with other organizations in the fall such as Black Lives Matter, and they hope to work with even more groups on issues of mutual interest and concern.
For those students who can’t find a student organization that addresses their area of interest, Victory said that a new group can be established if five currently enrolled like-minded students submit the proper paper work and secure the required faculty adviser. Her office then reviews the application to determine whether the group will be officially registered on campus.
For more information about MTSU student organizations, call 615-898-5812 or visit www.mtsu.edu/involve.
— Jimmy Hart (firstname.lastname@example.org)