There are more than fifty tables, some covered in candy, some covered in flags. The students slow down on their way to class, admiring the decorations that the student groups set up. Student leaders recruit with sign-up sheets. They discuss their club’s mission, shaking hands and welcoming new members. Hundreds of new friendships form while the not-so-usual school day goes on.
At the beginning of each semester, this is the scene set by the Club and Organizations Fair at Oklahoma City Community College. This year’s fair will take place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. August 31 and September 1.
More than 20 active clubs ranging from the Native American Student Association to the Psychology Club — will participate in Club and Organizations Fair. Groups will set up in the atrium between the OCCC Coffee Shop and cafeteria.
Assistant Director of Student Life Kendra Fringer said she is heavily involved in organizing the fair each year. Fringer works to process club applications and paperwork, event requests, and to assist student leaders in whatever ways she can. Fringer said she helps take new club ideas and turn them into fully functioning, student organizations.
“Every club will have an opportunity to be represented at the club fair,” she said. “Every recognized club on campus receives a tablespace that the Office of Student Life will provide, it’s up to the club to decide how much time will be spent at their own tables.”
Fringer said organizations may form around any interest, “We don’t dictate as far as clubs fitting in a specific category. They just have to find two sponsors, find ten participants, form a structured governing body, and follow the policies and procedures of the institution.”
Religious groups such as Christians on Campus are just as welcome as the Agnostics, Atheists, and Free Thinkers club, which will both have tables at the fair this year, she said.
Economics professor Charles Myrick is a sponsor for the Phi Theta Kappa honor society and the Enactus business club. Myrick has been involved in student clubs for years and is a big supporter of student involvement on campus.
“I think it’s important for students to be involved in clubs on campus because it provides you more of a connection to the college as a whole,” Myrick said. “Though we’re a commuter campus, I think a lot of the college experience is about developing connections with other people on campus who are likeminded.”
If you visit the fair and don’t see a club you may have wanted to join, an appointment with Student Life can be the first step to starting your own organization. New clubs are approved at the end of each fall and spring semester, giving students more time to organize, find new members, and secure faculty sponsors.
“I encourage students to not just go to the club fair, but to also read about what the student clubs are about on the Student Life website. There is probably a club out there that can fit our needs,” Myrick said. “And if there’s not a club out there that you would like to see, if you can recruit sponsors and students, you can start up your own club on campus.”
Concurrent student Aubrey Meneses just went through the club application process herself.
Meneses started the Sexuality and Gender Acceptance group at the end of the spring semester, citing the help of Kendra Fringer and Ryan Middleton, a nursing major at OCCC.
“It wasn’t too hard to find ten members, we looked around for friends and people from our classes who might be interested and then had them sign the required papers,” she said. “It was a little bit of a long process finding professors to sponsor and setting up the structure of the club. If you do have a whole semester, there’s a lot more time for you to get things done.”
Meneses said she was excited for the fair and the potential members that might come from the exposure.
“Hopefully when we have a table at the fair we will get more members,” she said.
“We’re planning on decorating our table with a flag, maybe putting out some candy or pins. Something that looks nice, catches your attention when you walk by.” This will be the first time SAGA participates in the Club and Organizations Fair.
“I encourage everybody to come out and see what interests them,” Fringer said. “If you see a group you might be interested in, put your OCCC email address down on their sign up sheet. There is no limit on how many clubs you can be involved it, it’s up to the individual student to decide how active they want to be in their clubs.”
Students can also visit http://www.occc.edu/ studentlife/clubs.html and use their student email address to sign up for club mailing lists.