The Student Involvement Fair last Thursday had the University Center bustling with students inside and out. The bass-heavy notes of hip-hop music reverberating from the second floor plaza, the throngs of students flowing from floor to floor, and the rows of tables showcasing clubs of countless persuasions, all seemed to say, “try not to get involved, we dare you.”
From religion to music, the diversity of student organizations is as compelling as the diversity of the group members themselves. Promoting the San Quentin Alliance for CHANGE, club leader Berklee Donavan explained, is a group focused on spreading awareness and resources for the parent organization Alliance for CHANGE. Ms. Donavan continued, “a lot of the work with the groups in San Quentin is focused on the men interacting with each other and other previously incarcerated individuals, but we are there for support when it is needed.”
Through panels and other community events, USF students are doing meaningful work to support this group’s important mission of reintegrating incarcerated individuals back into society.
A group focused on integration of a different kind is Women in Science, a student group prepping for a comeback at USF this semester. Through events such as ‘Cover Girl Chemist,’ this group aims to ingrain a love of science in women at a young age. Club member Candice Boothe also pointed out the group’s commitment to philanthropy, specifically breast cancer awareness, and reiterated that all science majors at USF–men and women alike–are welcome and encouraged to check out monthly meetings and social events this semester.
Students of the World (SOW) members Celina Stotler and Greta Karisny stated that their club is the one “to unite them all.” With chapters across the country, SOW seeks to unite creative activists for social change through positive multi-media production. According to club members, although no clear agenda lies at the core of their mission, this is perhaps their greatest strength.
Ms. Stotler said, “there are many groups at USF working towards positive social change and we are hoping to collaborate with them through multi-media this semester.” In a time where grassroots activism is essential to social change, groups like SOW could play a pivotal role for activists everywhere.
Jose Nunez, a member of the Black Student Union (BSU), spoke about a number of timely events planned for the coming semester by his organization. In the wake of the killings of Eric Garner, Michael Brown and Tamir Rice, the BSU will be hosting a panel focusing on minority representation in the media.
Panelists will include a news anchor, a journalist, and a radio host, all weighing in on this important topic. “We are excited to learn more about this issue from multiple viewpoints in the media,” Mr. Nunez said. He stressed the fact that this will be a multicultural event aimed at addressing cross-cultural issues.
From Latinos Unidos to the Jewish Student Union and the Philosophy Club, the involvement fair offered something for everyone. Nathalie Sanchez, a sophomore in the dual-degree teaching program, is excited about participating in both Band and Latinos Unidos this semester.
Another student with a similar dichotomy of interests is Bryan Relampagos who is planning on investing his time in Varsity, USF’s hip-hop club, as well as Kasamahan, the university’s Pilipino-American organization. Bryan pointed out, “Kasamahan is a club focused on philanthropy…but we have a lot of fun too.”
Many feel that helping students to integrate into USF’s diverse network of student organizations is paramount to the success of the university community as a whole, and the Involvement Fair this semester at USF truly outdid itself in that regard.
For those who were unable to attend, the directory on student organizations available on USF’s website can provide additional insight into the many opportunities that USF offers its student population.
Photo Credit: Larue Burks/Foghorn & Hamis Al Sharif/Foghorn