It’s the second week of school, you have barley dipped your toe in the water and the options are already a mile wide and two miles deep. Sociology, chemistry, and anthropology, oh my! You have just settled into your dorm, made an alliance with your roommate, and had your first night out on the Loop. You have heard about the Cardinals and the City Museum, you have been swept up in the passion of the former and eagerly await the chance to explore the hazy understanding of the latter. You call your parents every few days to update them on the new and amazing things you have done and people you have met. You think “man, this cannot get any better”, but oh it can. There is a magical event that happens within the first two weeks of your auspicious arrival: the Activities Fair.
As anyone who has attended a WashU info-session can tell you, we have something like 350 clubs on campus, including fraternities, sororities, sports clubs, Acapella groups, movie clubs, water polo with and without inner tubes, a gardening club called The Burning Kumquat, and last but not least the butter churning club (WU Churn). But how can you find out about all of these student groups and how can you get involved? You will hear the answer whispered in reverence in the halls, in the dorms, among the faculty. The Activities Fair is the solution.
When you arrive on Mudd field on the celebrated day at the beginning of the semester, you will see tables upon tables lined up in a massive rectangle. Each half of each table will have anywhere from 1-5 people behind it singing the praises of their club to anyone who can pick out their proclamation from the crowd. As you pass by each table and give it merely a passing glance they will eagerly shout at you to join their mailing list, come to the general body meeting, and take a flier. Your friends will drag you over to the newly discovered group they want to pledge their time to, you will find things yourself you never knew existed, and you will certainly sign up for more things than there are hours in the day. The beauty of the Activities Fair is that it is a literal buffet of awesome stuff to do, it is an amazing space in which the veil is lifted and everyone’s excitement is out in the open. It is unimaginably wonderful to be swept up the enthusiasm and vigor which clubs display and the mob mentality that encourages you to sign up for something that you might otherwise not have thought existed.
After a fun 45 minutes of writing down your email and accumulating a backpack full of fliers and other trinkets that were given away, what do you do now? You will get 50 different emails about the General Body Meetings of all the different groups, you will go to far fewer than half of them and see which ones strike your fancy, and then you will begin to fully commit yourself to the handful whose members, message, and programming most embodies how you would like to spend your time. After that, it’s up to you!