On Wednesday, the second- and third-floor rotundas of the Millennium Student Center at the University of Missouri–St. Louis were awash with the merry tones of 300-some voices as undergraduates connected, investigated and jived with student organizations at the Spring Involvement Expo.
From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., the 50 student organizations and campus departments occupying display tables got the opportunity to share their programs’ missions and activities with potential new recruits. The semiannual event is traditionally put on during the first week of the semester by the Office of Student Involvement.
“Students get to talk 1-on-1 with the different organizations,” said Jessica Mode, coordinator of student activities. “To see what’s out there and get involved at UMSL.”
Attendees had a variety of reasons for seeking out new connections. Junior history and education major Hannah Bainter had recently transferred to UMSL and thought getting involved would help her meet new people. Plus, she was drawn to the charitable missions of the sororities.
“What they all stand for is really good,” she said. “They try to raise money for underprivileged people like those that are autistic, hard of hearing, that kind of thing.”
For those tabling, finding recruits was top priority. Both Zeta Tau Alpha President Maranda Morris, a senior majoring in criminology and criminal justice, and Alpha Xi Delta member and sophomore BSN student Hunter Stroup said their goals were enticing new members and getting them involved on campus.
“I’m actually part of several different organizations, and a lot of them have to do with recruiting and getting people involved in any way shape or form,” Stroup said. “For example, for the honors college, I’m a SMART mentor, which means I’m trying to get high school kids to come to UMSL, join the honors college and get involved that way.”
Tabling gave students and advisors a chance to share what they enjoyed about their respective groups with potential recruits. Hispanic Latin Association’s Rosa Macias, a junior business administration major, relished discussing the differences among Spanish languages, and BS in education sophomore Theodore Naes enjoyed Revolution Campus Ministry’s relaxed approach to faith and the close friendships built among members. An interest in event planning attracted junior Rachel Thompson to the University Program Board, which organizes different campus programs such as bingo and tailgating.
The connections made weren’t only between potential recruits and organizations, however. Junior biology major and Muslim Student Association Vice President Dahlia Abdulsattar made time for some cross-organization, cross-religion harmony.
“I have spoken with a Catholic club here as well as a Jewish club, and we decided to make an event with all three of us collaborating to bring three religious leaders, one from each religion, and to bring people together to teach them about the religions,” she said. “We’re collaborating together, which is I think really great. I’ve had a really great experience.”