For many first-year students, this Sunday’s Fall ClubFest will be the first introduction to Cornell’s many student groups — from dance troupes to professional fraternities, dozens of organizations will be performing, showcasing their activities and recruiting new members.
This year’s event, hosted for the 16th time by the Welcome Weekend Committee, will be held this Sunday, September 15, from 1 to 4 p.m. in Barton Hall.
Around 340 registered student organizations will have tables, with most located on the track in in Barton Hall and the rest in North Campus’s Tatkon Center, and 5,000 students are expected to participate in this year’s event.
According to the website of Campus & Community Engagement, there are over 1,000 registered student organizations, which makes the process for registration competitive. Registration for Fall ClubFest begins in the previous semester and usually sells out within 24 hours, assistant director of campus activities Denice Cassaro told The Sun.
For groups that were unable to get space in Barton Hall, the Welcome Weekend Committee maintains a waitlist — from which 28 groups have been offered a space in the Tatkon Center.
Cassaro acknowledged that groups in Balch Hall’s Tatkon Center do receive less attention, because “the population most likely to attend were from North Campus on their way to Barton.”
Tabling locations of more popular organizations, like career and business-focused societies, also had to be rearranged in Barton Hall to accommodate their size.
“Some categories of clubs draw larger audiences so we have moved them to locations more conducive to larger audiences, which relieves some of the congestion in the aisles,” said Cassaro.
While planning ClubFest poses quite the challenge for Cassaro, she said that she feels excited seeing new clubs join each year.
“I always enjoy going by all the tables once ClubFest starts and seeing the excitement between the club members and interested [and] curious students,” Cassaro said.
For clubs and students, ClubFest can be a rewarding experience.
“I joined [Cornell Consulting Group] because I saw them at ClubFest my Freshman year,” Arys Aung ’21 told The Sun in an email. “ [And] I joined all the organizations that I’m currently a part of now through ClubFest. I’ve met a lot of amazing people through this event as well!”
Like many clubs, ClubFest is an important way for the CCG to generate publicity. This year, the organization will send about 10 people to the event, preparing arrangements like Google forms for signup, banners and quarter cards, Aung said.
“Our club has found ClubFest extremely helpful for getting our attention and interest to people we don’t have the resources to reach otherwise.” said Aung.
For clubs who were not registered in time for Fall ClubFest, the Welcome Weekend Committee will also host a Spring ClubFest next semester, according to Cassaro.