Rowan students gathered at the student center on Thursday, Jan. 19, for the SGA Spring Club and Organization fair. The ballroom was packed with organizations advertising their clubs, pushing sign-up sheets for email lists and offering incentives to stop and talk, like candies or t-shirts. Students looking to get involved or to kill time between classes browsed between the rows of tables, exploring their options.
Many types of groups on campus were represented, from religious or cultural clubs to service or major-based organizations.
“When I was first starting college, I was a child of parents who didn’t do school in the U.S. so I was figuring out the whole process for myself,” said Bethel Bichay, Minority Association of Pre-medical Students (MAPS) vice president. “Having MAPS was a really good way to figure out what I needed to do.”
Clubs like The American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA) and MAPS focus on bringing people together based on their majors and career goals. Both offer opportunities to network and prepare members for success in their chosen fields, while also offering a space where students with similar interests can come together for support and community.
“It really helped me make friends and get acclimated to campus,” said Sarah Mackenzie, President of AMWA. “It also helped me explore my options in medicine and learn more about what’s out there rather than having a one track mind which is really what this club’s about. We want to support each other but also push each other,” Mackenzie said.
There were several faith-based organizations present with at least one group for each major religion. Members of the Christian organization, Rowan Cru, were eager to meet and chat with potential new members.
“We are a super fun group, we have lots of laughs. We have women’s small groups and men’s small groups and we hold different events throughout the year and different gatherings so it’s really fun,” said Joi Pratt, Rowan Cru President.
According to Pratt, the group connects with other Cru groups around the region and takes annual retreats in North Jersey.
Rowan Muslim Student Association (MSA) was also tabling at the event. The group meets to play games, pray and learn more about the religion.
“Being a part of this club has made me more open-minded about my religion. You can learn anywhere from anyone, so everyone coming together from different ethnicities is really cool because I get to learn how someone does something different than me,” said Yasmien Farhat, the MSA secretary.
The Rowan NAACP was present as well. They hold events throughout the year discussing Black culture and issues facing Black Americans.
“NAACP stands for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, so we stand up for Black people’s rights. We want to try to get communities to come together, that’s our common goal right now,” said Jordan Barr, a member of the club’s fundraising committee.
Cultural clubs like Rowan African Students Association (ASA) were also in attendance. The mission of the club is to bring together African students on campus to build community while also working to educate others on different aspects of African cultures through events like “Taste of Afrique,” which occurred this past November.
“Rowan ASA helped me get more in tune with who I am and my culture as a whole. I’m Ghanaian and its helped me to not be shy about who I am and to embrace that side of me,” said Samuel Poku, ASA public relations chair.
Time spent in college can be stressful balancing classes and career goals, and it’s not something easy to manage alone. Getting involved around campus can be a great way to break up some of that stress by finding support from peers who can relate, and the Spring Club Fair helps students in that process.
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