The Aug. 25 event on Young Commons drew nearly 1,000 students out to learn about more than 200 student organizations on Elon's campus.
The Office of Student Involvement kicked off the semester with the Fall Organization Fair on Thursday, Aug. 25, on Young Commons, with about 240 student organizations and campus partners and approximately 1,000 students attending.
Commonly referred to as the Org Fair, the event is an opportunity for student organizations to share their purpose with students while simultaneously connecting with them. Student leaders of organizations find the Org Fair a great tool to promote and bring awareness of their organization’s cause to the student population.
“We really use the Org Fair to target our staff members, and just people interested in our cause in general, we really just want to make our campus aware of our cause,” said Madison Federici ’23, president of Elonthon. “We kind of use it to target first-years, sophomores, people who are just interested in the cause and want to be more involved.”
Abigail Fisher ’23, Leaders in Collaborative Service (LINCS) coordinator for the Boys and Girls Club, also uses the Org Fair to bring awareness to her organization’s cause. “I hope that students just are able to see the good work that we do in the community and that we break out of the Elon bubble and that you can really impact a child’s life at the Boys and Girls Club,” she said.
Max Arden ’23 is the president of the Interfraternity Council and said it is the first opportunity for the council to get in front of students who may be interested in rushing a fraternity when they have the opportunity. It helps educate sophomores before they become eligible to rush in the fall semester.
“It’s a nice kind of last-minute opportunity for them to get signed up, make sure they don’t miss their window so that we can get as many people involved in our community,” said Arden.
Other student leaders use the Org Fair as a time to engage and connect with incoming students as they search for a place where they fit on campus with people with common interests.
“The Org Fair is a really great opportunity to not only promote your organization but also connect with the incoming students, students who are really trying to find their place to call home away from home,” said Giselle Garcia-Jose ’24, president of Chi Upsilon Sigma National Latin Sorority Incorporated. “It’s a great opportunity to really gauge your interest and really connect with other students on campus, whether it’s something in regards to academics, if you’re trying to learn and connect into Greek life, if you’re trying to join something in regards to dance or art there’s something really here for everyone on campus.”
CJ Kovalsky ’24, president of the Elon Men’s Club Lacrosse, shared the same sentiment regarding using the Org Fair to connect and engage with students. “We are promoting the love and the brotherhood of the lacrosse team to the freshman and any students who are interested in engaging in club sports,” he said.
The Org Fair serves several purposes for student organization leaders, from promotion to engagement to recruitment. But it’s also a time for those students who attend to explore their interests and ultimately find where they belong.
From curricular to service-based to co-curricular, there were various types of organizations that students could identify with. Many student attendees also feel that the Org Fair is a great way to engage and find an identity outside the classroom.
“I really hope that students find something that they are excited and passionate about,” said Shannon Finney, assistant director of student involvement.
Thomas Austin ’26 is a first-year student who attended the Org Fair looking for ways to connect. “To make more friends, to have more stuff to do outside of school, outside of the classroom, and help the community as well,” were among the reasons why Austin came to the Org Fair on Thursday.
Similarly, Emma Franco ‘26 attended the Org Fair to find ways to get involved outside of the classroom. She said she attended “to get more involved in campus life here and find some stuff other than school to do.”
Purpose, belonging, connecting and engaging outside of the classroom are resonating themes when discussing the Org Fair’s goal, which connects with one of the six dimensions of Elon University’s recently launched campaign HealthEU.
Within HealthEU, purpose well-being focuses on one’s fulfillment and exploring how one can interact with their community.
Many student organizations address these elements through volunteerism, academic achievement, community involvement, and personal identity, and connect with people with a common interest.
“Students think, ‘I wanna be here because I’m in this group of people that makes me feel really good. And I am in this group of people that loves the same things I do, helps me grow and helps me become a better leader,’” said Finney. “Student orgs give students an opportunity to find purpose outside of the classroom at Elon and I think that helps build community and helps foster retention.”
Students have already taken the first step toward purpose and well-being by attending the Org Fair and identifying the best organization for them. The next step is committing to involvement, which can be achieved through PhoenixCONNECT, an online communications and calendar platform that allows Elon students to connect with events and organizations on campus.
“I fondly refer to PhoenixCONNECT as a 24/7 Org Fair,” said Finney. “The Org Fair paints a good picture of what organizations do, but that’s what PhoenixCONNECT also does.”
PhoenixCONNECT allows students to join organizations and see photos and upcoming events of those specific organizations while also allowing organizations to connect with their members. Students are encouraged to continue connecting with organizations that piqued their interest during the org fair and visit PhoenixConnect at https://elon.campuslabs.com/engage/.