The Aug. 24 event on Young Commons drew nearly 2,500 students out to learn about more than 200 student organizations on Elon's campus.
The Office of Student Involvement kicked off the semester with its annual Fall Organization Fair on Thursday, Aug. 24, on Young Commons with about 240 student organizations and campus partners, and approximately 2,500 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 engaging with them. While the Org Fair has historically allowed organizations to connect with the student population, there is a prominent theme of how the fair will enable students to build community and provide a sense of belonging.
“It allows students to meet each other over their commonalities; students can find what they are interested in and share that with their peers. I always love the Org Fair because I get to see so many students connecting over what they are most passionate about,” Shannon Finney, assistant director of student involvement, said.
Several student leaders share Finney’s sentiment on how the Org Fair can build community and connect students with commonalities. They also believed that it provides a space for their organization to gain exposure and explain how their organization can benefit potential new members.
“I would say that it gives us a lot more exposure than we’re used to. The garden is a place that not a lot of people know about. So getting to explain who we are, what we do, and even where the garden is just gives people a sense of what we do on Elon’s campus, and even just shouting out the garden itself gives people a place to go if they want a safe space or just a place to hang out in nature as well,” Maddie Landress ‘25, Elon Community Garden member said.
Rachel Solomon ’24 expressed how the Org Fair allows her organization, the American Chemical Society, to connect with individuals with similar majors and provides a break for students within STEM majors. “We strive to look for ways, especially for science majors, to have a little bit of a break because it can be a very demanding major. So by having our club, we hope to give them breaks but also allow them to meet new people and make connections with other people in their major,” Solomon said.
Student attendees also highlighted how the Org Fair allows them to find a community that best fits them and ultimately find a sense of belonging and community. “I think it’s all about finding a group of people who you can connect with. So if you find certain clubs that you liked, then you’re probably going to be with people who are like you,” Noah Stephenson ‘27 said.
Ivy Murphy ‘27 and Sam Winn ‘27 felt similar to Stephenson when expressing how the Org Fair allows them to meet new people and connect with like-minded people, enabling them to foster authentic relationships due to their commonalities.
When speaking on fostering authentic relationships, Nai’a Diggs ‘27 and Eden Perry ‘27 expressed how they hoped that the Org Fair would help them find an organization that would allow them to build community. “Just like having someone to always go to just creating that sense of community that family,” Diggs expressed.
Perry elaborated on her desire to find a sense of community that turns into family as a first-year, stating, “Yeah, like family. I think family is vulnerable and family is also fun. I think I want someplace where I can have a little bit of everything. Somewhere I can lean on, cry on,” Perry said.
To help students find a sense of community and family within a student organization, they can also look to Student Involvement Ambassadors if they were unable to connect with an organization at the Org Fair. The Student Involvement Ambassadors are a great resource for students to learn more about involvement opportunities on campus. “We consider them to be our ‘involvement experts’ and they are there to help any and all students find pathways to meaningful engagement on campus,” Finney said.
Student Involvement Ambassadors meet with students 1:1 to help them talk through what they are interested in and then help them figure out how that aligns with what is going on across campus. The Involvement Ambassadors will be in each first-year neighborhood over the next three weeks doing pop-up tabling so students can learn about these opportunities. Students are also welcome to visit the Student Involvement office in Moseley 201 and 205.
Additionally, students are encouraged to visit PhoenixCONNECT. 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.