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The normally unremarkable sidewalks surrounding the Bell Tower transformed into a hub of exploration as students gathered for the semiannual Organization Fair 10 a.m to 2 p.m. Aug. 28.

Various organizations were able to raise awareness for themselves and potentially recruit new members. Both new and old students hoping to get more involved were able to quickly learn what these potential opportunities were truly about.

Student Involvement Coordinator Drake Summers explained how the Organization Fair benefits both organizations and students.

(The purpose) is so organizations who are registered can recruit new members. The freshman class brings a lot of opportunities for our organizations,” Summers said. “Once you’re here and you’re involved in some things, sometimes it’s hard to branch out, and so for upperclassmen students, it also gives them an opportunity to kind of refresh their memory and see what else is out there.” 

Each table lining the walkways outside the Union was decorated to represent respective organizations, and representatives at those tables were able to connect with students and explain the purpose of their clubs. Freshman Sarah Ellis emphasized the value of talking to members instead of simply reading about the organizations.

“It gives you a chance to interact with the people who are running them and you get more interested in it than just reading about in on paper,” Ellis said. “Because it can sound cool on paper, but when you can actually talk to someone who’s passionate about it, it really peaks your interest.”

Freshman Mariah Cain echoed that hearing the members’ fervor for their experience in clubs made those clubs all the more attractive.

“When people are passionate about it and actually like what they’re doing, they’re even more interested in wanting you to join with them to have you be passionate about it,” Cain said.

With nearly 100 organizations manning booths lining the pathways outside the Union, there was no shortage of variety or chances to join a new organization.

“Before I came, I looked up on the organization page on the Northwest website, and I was like, ‘some of these I actually want to join.’ I came here and actually found more things that I didn’t even find on there that I want to join,” Cain said, with her hands full of fliers and a bounty of handouts she received while venturing through the fair.

The fair was bustling from start to finish, with approximately 1,060 students in attendance. The turnout boded well for many organizations, with sign-ups far exceeding their goals. Spencers Owens, junior and member of NWMSU Young Democrats, expressed his excitement for the huge response from students. 

“We’ve exceeded our expected number of sign-ups in the first 30 minutes, and we’ve been really grateful for the outpouring of support we got from a lot of fellow students,” Owens said. “It’s been really great.”

Organizations employed many strategies to draw in the crowds: most commonly, free candy. Others used tactics that simply couldn’t be ignored: such as a box of bees and a beekeeper clad in a full, hooded suit; a small pony and stationary saddle; a snake one could hold; or a Shirtless Bearcat, as one could guess, with no shirt and covered in paint.

Many such antics had been impossible in recent years, as the organization fair had been repeatedly moved inside due to weather. 

“We were really fortunate and lucky to have awesome weather on Wednesday,” Summers said. “I think that (having it outside) draws more people in, whenever you can see it from your building or you leave class and see people having a good time and listening to music and socializing, that also draws people. Being out in the open I think benefits our attendance quite a bit.”

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