Virtual Involvement Fair Provides Students with Opportunities to Participate Despite COVID-19 Closures

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Student clubs and organizations gathered together for Plazafest January 8th in the Union Ballroom | Chronicle archives.

By Megan McKellar, News Writer

 

Students would typically spend orientation and the first week of classes perusing different buildings filled with tables for clubs and organizations on campus they might want to join, but this year the walking has been traded in with scrolling in virtual involvement fairs. The first of two virtual involvement fairs was held on July 29 from 1 – 4 pm.

The involvement ambassadors, who led the event, started by holding a general meeting on Zoom, where they gave instructions for the rest of the virtual fair and shared their tips about getting involved at the University of Utah. 

The two ambassadors leading the meeting shared their “involvement stories” detailing which groups and organizations they’ve been a part of and why they felt being involved with campus groups was essential to a college experience. 

“(Involvement has) allowed me to build connections and build my network. I’ve met some great people through involvement that I wouldn’t have met otherwise just by going to classes,” said Sabah Sial, one of the involvement ambassadors. 

Sial has been involved with the Freshman Ambassador Board, Students for Action Focused Empowerment (SAFE) and the Hinckley Institute internship program. He was also selected as a business scholar and an ASUU Supreme Court Chief Justice. 

During the initial meeting, 50 participants were present on the Zoom call.

Participants left for specific campus organizations’ Zoom meetings, or “tables,” following the first meeting, but involvement ambassadors stayed on the main meeting and were available to answer questions or address concerns for the duration of the entire event. Students were also able to join the event at any time, even if they hadn’t been present during the introductory meeting. 

The student organizations and programs were assigned one of five categories, during which each group or organization had 30 minutes to share any information about their organization, meet with participants who had chosen to attend their “table” and answer any questions. Participants had the flexibility and option to attend multiple “tables” within the 30-minute blocks, enabling them to attend as many meetings as desired. 

Over 70 different organizations and programs were present throughout the event. 

Links for each organization’s Zoom meeting were made available on a Google Slides presentation and on the Campus Connect website. Each organization’s contact information as well as their social media accounts were also featured and linked on each organization’s slide for participants’ later reference. 

The involvement ambassadors also offer one-on-one consultations to help match students with clubs, organizations or leadership that interest students and relate to their college goals. 

“Involvement really impacted me because I really didn’t know what to do with school, and through involvement, I was able to get different internships, jobs, meet new people and really find a path,” said Lucas Brizolara, another involvement ambassador. 

In addition to his role as an involvement ambassador, Brizolara has also been involved with the Salt Lake County Office of Diversity and Inclusion and has also been a BlockU Senior Peer Advisor and an Arts, Leadership and Community Project Coordinator. 

If students were unable to attend during the designated date and time, information regarding each of the 500 of the U’s campus groups and organizations is available on the Campus Connect website. 

The second virtual involvement fair will be scheduled for early Sept.

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@meganbmckellar