Tables of excited students recruiting first years to their clubs lined Locust Walk on the first day of classes Tuesday afternoon, marking the start of the three-day Student Activities Council Fall Activities Fair.
The SAC Fall Activities Fair occurs at the beginning of each school year to allow students to learn about various groups on campus. Clubs have the option to recruit new members in person, virtually, or both from Aug. 31 to Sept. 2, College senior and SAC Chair Grayson Peters said.
In-person recruiting will occur from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. on College Green on Wednesday and Thursday, while online sessions will take place from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Peters said. Groups can opt to send representatives to both the in-person and virtual sessions on their assigned day, or one of the two.
“We're planning on having a hybrid combined approach so that people can go to events that they feel comfortable with,” Peters said. “It's really important that we're not just making people opt in to go to an in-person fair if they wouldn't feel comfortable doing that.”
The virtual Fall Activities Fair is being held on Penn Clubs. Penn Labs, a student-run software development organization, updated the platform to include access to Zoom meetings for the entirely virtual SAC fairs that ran in the fall 2020 and spring 2021 semesters.
College senior Alejandra Bahena, the co-president of Penn Neuroscience Society, said the group is doing icebreakers, giving an overview of their club and calendar events, and signing students up for their newsletter and GroupMe at the SAC fair. Penn Neuroscience Society is dedicated to creating an academic forum and community focused on discussing and understanding the rapidly developing field of neuroscience.
“Our internal and external events chair will be planning virtual events for the first couple of weeks of the semester until we are told — hopefully — it is safe to host in-person events," Bahena said.
She said their events will look similar to those that occurred in the spring semester and include taking advantage of interactive Zoom features such as question and answer chats, breakout rooms, and polls. The group also plans to play virtual games and do interactive activities during general body meetings and social events. It will also host virtual speaker events and a virtual physician shadowing program, Bahena said.
The Lambda Alliance, an organization dedicated to advancing LGBTQ causes on campus and creating a community for its constituents, is also participating in the SAC fair, College senior and Lambda Alliance Chair Blake Rubenstein said.
“Lambda will be engaging with students about opportunities in Lambda Alliance, as well as within our constituent groups," Rubenstein said. "We want to make sure LGBTQ+ students know about the various opportunities to get involved in this community on campus and who to reach out to if they have any questions or concerns about LGBTQ+ resources.”
He said the LGBT Center is hosting several events for students over the next few weeks, where Lambda Alliance and other student groups will speak about their organizations while meeting transfer, first-year, and second-year students.
Rubenstein added that Lambda plans to host both in-person and online events throughout the semester.