The Welcome Weekend committee hosted its annual ClubFest student activities fair Sunday in Barton Hall. Almost 300 student groups participated in the event, which drew scores of new students as well as returning students eager to immerse themselves in one of Cornell’s roughly 500 student organizations.
Each participating organization hosted a table with informational material and recruited students to join its ranks. The tables were arranged in categories including cultural, athletic, publications, dance, musical, self-help, academic, religious, public service and political, into which each club fell.
ClubFest was the last of several events, including Cornell Night and Casino Night, hosted by Welcome Weekend to celebrate the beginning of a new year for all students, and to continue to help new students acclimate to Cornell after the conclusion of New Student Orientation.
“I know when I was a freshman I was looking for things to get involved in and this is a great opportunity because everything is right here,” said Katie McLaughlin ’07, ClubFest coordinator. “It’s really phenomenal. You have the Rugby Club on one end, the Democrats on another end, and the Ghanian Club over there. You just need a venue to bring everyone together and it reflects how amazing Cornell really is,” she added.
In addition to the informational tables, groups like Cornell Raas, Cornell Juggling Club, BASE Productions, Salsa Amigos, Pandora Dance Troupe, Shadows Dance Troupe, Cornell Bhangra, and the Dazzler’s Dance Club, among others, performed throughout the afternoon.
To add a touch of sweetness to the experience, Cornell Dairy provided free ice cream and the Class Councils offered cotton candy and popcorn to all participants.
While geared primarily toward first-year students, upperclassmen enjoyed the opportunity to showcase their clubs while investigating others parts of Cornell’s extraordinary array of extracurricular opportunities.
“ClubFest gave people in the Cornell community a chance to learn about a religion that is the fifth largest in the world but is not really that prevalent around here,” said Harpartap Singh ’07, president of the Cornell Sikh Association. “People really showed interest in a topic that they normally couldn’t relate to and that felt really nice to see.”
Singh recalled drawing people from myriad cultural and ethnic backgrounds to his table and sharing information about the organization with them.
“I thought that it was a really good event, and I was pleasantly surprised with the number of people who showed up for it,” said Josh Rubin ’06, campus coordinator of Democracy Matters. “I was surprised by the diversity of the students who came asking questions, not only politically, but ethnically and geographically as well. It’s not very often that we use the example of Arizona’s campaign finance reform and people are able to confirm the names and the stories with first-hand knowledge.”
Not all students were impressed, however. “It was too crowded and could have been a little more organized,” said Alex Lieberman ’09. “There were so many humanities and government clubs,” he added. “I was looking for more diversity, and I saw like three different skiing clubs.”
Despite some glitches, the event was viewed largely as a success.
“It was an eclectic array of the events that shape Cornell,” said Aniq Rahman ’09. “There’s ten of everything for everyone. I signed up for about 30 clubs, and I’ll probably be active in five or six.” “Plus,” Rahman added, “the Bhangra performance was off the hook.”
Archived article by Josh Goldman
Sun Staff Writer