THE FAIR: a rebrand, and a return to tradition
On last Wednesday afternoon, the Activities Fair, this year renamed “THE FAIR,” was held in the Cohon Center. Tables of student-run organizations filled the Wiegand Gymnasium, the Connan Room, and Rangos Ballroom from wall to wall. It was quite a testament to the diverse array of interests that make up Carnegie Mellon. Students, mostly first years, rushed in to explore all that Carnegie Mellon has to offer. THE FAIR, held inside this year due to construction on The Cut, lasted a couple of hours.
Club leaders competed for students' attention, hollering jingles at passersby as they handed out stickers and candy. Highlight reels played on laptops, and pop music blasted from portable speakers.
There was a constant refrain of “sign up for our list and take a sticker," or “I see you looking at our poster!”
One voice resounded above all the hoopla. “If you got a face, you got a place! CMU Rowing Club!” shouted Nethani Bryant, senior, with all his might. No one else was putting in as much effort to be heard. One of his teammates held a 12 foot long oar straight in the air, and two others handed out flyers advertising an info session directly after THE FAIR.
“Around 10 percent of the people who sign up for the email blast come to the first meeting, at least for our club,” explained Ashwati Kristan, a postdoctoral student who has been running the Shotokan Karate Club for nine years. Kristan and three other members stood fully cloaked in white karate uniforms, emanating a commanding presence. The club has been at Carnegie Mellon since 1973.
“Take a Unix cheat sheet so you’ll never be alone at CMU not knowing what command to use!” exclaimed Ford Spiegel, a graduate student. The Carnegie Mellon University Computer Club offers students access to a wide array of antique and modern “machines,” as well as some they can't afford. “We do weird things with computers.” The stack of cheat sheets was shrinking quickly.
Over a blaring boom-bap instrumental, Ryan Harty, President of CMU Cyphers, rhymed the names of people interested in the Freestyle rap club. At the table for the Jazz Club, founded just last year, students shuffled through a vinyl collection full of classics; Coltrane, Rollins, and Davis amongst them. SPIRIT was handing out flyers for their annual fashion show. “We are also a haven for people who support black people,” explained Mecca Parker, a senior who is the chair of the SPIRIT fashion show.
“Quidditch has become a combination of many sports; rugby, lacrosse, dodgeball, and baseball,” said Dominique Brych, senior and Captain of the Quidditch team, with excitement. “It’s a fun thing to try at least once!”
There were so many clubs that some even spilled out into the hallways. At the Kirr Commons, commonly referred to as the Black Chairs, students could register to vote.
Some students seemed to find the array of options overwhelming. “It was packed, a lot of options,” said Medhane Ollushoda, a fifth year who signed up for the Muslim Student Association.
“I think it’s a lot of people, and it's hard to find the club you're interested in,” shrugged Emmanuel Gama, graduate student.