Luc Bryant ’22
This article is intended to be one part quiet fulmination, another part running list of ideas, and dash of trivial newspaper page filler. Trinity’s Student Involvement Fair is held every year (with the exception of last year, obviously) in the early weeks of the first semester of the academic year. This year’s fair took place on the main quad last Tuesday, Sept. 21, inviting students new and old to engage with the school’s ever-expansive list of resume builders. Admittedly I had forgotten that the school kept up with this event until the day of. Nonetheless, I took a gander to see how it held up.
I think the fair does what it needs to do well. Every organization has its own place to self-advertise, and appearances are reliant on the cooperation of those groups to showcase themselves adequately. Less utilitarian is the fair’s importance to new students at building the community they know nothing about. Seeing all the members involved in student groups can and will spark inspiration for involvement and, down the line, creation of new student groups which in turn bolster the Trinity community. It’s a self-improving cycle.
The fair is not an infallible system, however. I know certain groups had trouble getting a table set up to advertise their involvement. I also know, having attended a couple fairs in my college career, how congested the setup was this year; not very conducive to get the attention of prospective students when all visibility for your table is blocked by visitors of someone else’s table, let alone a potential COVID hypocrisy. I remember feeling overwhelmed as a new student at my freshman year involvement fair, seeing as many groups as there were but with very little information to help parse which ones were worth getting involved in. Intimidation is the last thing you want at these kinds of things.
So first let’s start with one idea to make things better: fewer tables. This helps minimize the confusion and the clutter of people. How groups get selected to have a table should be based on standing with the school, communication with S.A.I.L., and size of the group. Next idea: better organization for the tables. I have a hard time understanding whether or not the setups are organized by groups or at random, but having arranged clusters of tables, perhaps organized by discipline or alphabetically, will help students know where to look for their next venture. Third: flyers. Receiving a physical program upon arriving at the fair gives students the ability to make a plan and go find the tables and groups they really seem interested on, spending less time wandering and overwhelmed.
I feel the involvement fair in some ways echoes the Student Activities, Leadership, and Involvement (S.A.I.L.) system at the school: it’s a bit of a clumsy mess. I understand student involvement is reliant on the students’ motivation to get themselves involved, I mean it’s literally in the name, but helping grow the organizations and granting due respect to the leaders and groups on campus is a cooperative effort.