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200 student orgs, penguins to fill Ohio State Winter Involvement Fair

Theresa Brady / For The Lantern

More than 200 organizations have registered for the Winter Involvement Fair Wednesday, making it the largest to date, but that’s not the only thing that’s noteworthy.
“This year we’re adding some live entertainment along with the event,” said Adam Burden, coordinator of student involvement at OSU. “We’re going to have some animals from the zoo, like some penguins running around and a guy doing ice sculpting.”
The fair will be held from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the Archie Griffin Grand Ballroom and the Performance Hall at the Ohio Union.
Burden said the fair is targeted toward freshmen and transfer students but is open to anyone looking to get involved on campus – even if they’re not quite sure what they want to do.
“You can browse and just walk around and talk to people,” Burden said. “Even if you’re not sure about your involvement or a particular group that you want to get involved with, it’s the place to be just to learn about what’s out there.”
Although the fair held every January is much smaller than the one held on the Oval during Welcome Week, Burden said it is an advantage because students can easily talk with organizations one-on-one.
“Because there are less groups, I don’t think it’s as overwhelming,” Burden said. “We have intentionally designed it that way to provide more space.”
The Winter Involvement Fair is usually held in the ballroom, but this year the Performance Hall was also available at the same time.
Burden said about 2,000 students attended last year’s Winter Involvement Fair, where 170 booths were set up in the Grand Ballroom.
Jenna Mackey, a third-year in accounting and economics, is the event chair for the Involvement Fair and said she starts preparing for it in late October.
“The primary goal of any involvement fair is to give students a look into what Ohio State has to offer,” Mackey said. “There are so many student organizations that it can be a little bit overwhelming.”
Mackey said the layout of the fair helps students find an area of interest because similar organizations are grouped together in sections.
“I think the setup of the fair is really good to let students explore the different opportunities,” Mackey said.
OSU has more than 1,000 student organizations, and Mackey said of the more than 200 registered, 170 organizations will be set up in the Archie Griffin Grand Ballroom and about 40 in the Performance Hall.
Organizations signed up online on a first-come, first-serve basis, and only university-registered organizations could participate. To register, an organization must have at least five student members, a president, a treasurer and an adviser. They then can apply online to be recognized by the university.
Hannah Beardsley, a fourth-year in marketing, is an intern for Student Life and has been planning events like the Involvement Fair on campus for two years.
“We’ve had really great traffic and high attendance at the event in the past couple years, and we’ve expanded,” Beardsley said. “I think we’re looking to fill up the Performance Hall and the ballroom.”
Burden said students can expect to leave with free merchandise from different organizations.
The Lantern will be one of the more than 200 organizations with a booth at the fair.
Students are also welcome to join Student Life on Twitter for a live tweet from the involvement fair with the hashtag #WI13.

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