Virtual Involvement Fair Showcases Student Organizations


Courtesy of Villanova OSI's Instagram

The Involvement Fair went virtual this semester due to the pandemic.

Jackie Thomas, Staff Writer

From Feb. 23-25, the Office of Student Involvement (OSI) hosted a three-day virtual Student Involvement Fair, providing an opportunity for students to explore countless clubs and campus organizations for the spring semester. 

Leading up to the virtual fair, students were encouraged to explore organizations via the OSI website through resources like the “Tour and Explore” survey, which is a thorough, interactive survey students can take to discover specific clubs and organizations geared toward their personal interests. The survey, though particularly helpful preceding an event like the involvement fair, is available constantly for students’ reference.

In organizing the event, the OSI applied lessons learned from the first virtual fair in the fall, as detailed by Student Involvement graduate assistant and session host Liz Lopresti.

There were a few mishaps we noticed that we improved on this time,” Lopresti said. “When I presented last time, I realized that the session runs much smoother if there are no animations or recordings on each slide. Also, it was sort of a struggle making sure all the organizations submitted their slides in a timely manner, so we kept that in mind this semester and made the process for creating the presentation more organized and intentional.”

To best showcase the more than-200 organizations present on campus using Zoom, the OSI broke the event into five two-hour blocks over the three days, along with an hour-long presentation of activities and groups geared specifically toward graduate students on the program’s first day. 

Following the graduate programming earlier in the day, Tuesday evening saw presentations from Campus Recreation organizations, including club sports teams, intramural sports and fitness centers on campus. Freshman Chloe Abelarde, an attendee of the campus recreation session, noted how informative the presentations were.

“I remember being really overwhelmed early on last semester, so I didn’t take advantage of the Involvement Fair in the fall,” she said. “Attending this time around showed me ways to get involved on campus and resources I can use that I had no idea about until now.”

Wednesday’s first session showcased Academic and Student interest groups. Following the format of other sessions in the week, each of the around 50 organizations made a quick, elevator-pitch style presentation of their group and ways to get involved. Presenters covered a vast array of topics and interests, from the Villanova Finance Group to the Indoor Rock Climbing Club to groups across countless other areas. 

Freshman Ryan Perry, one of the more than 100 attendees of this session, was impressed (if somewhat overwhelmed) by the number and variety of groups presented. 

“I always knew there were a lot of organizations at Nova, but I had no idea we had so many clubs for so many specific interests,” he said. “Hearing them all one after another was a lot, but it was definitely a great way to introduce the clubs so that we could go look into them in more detail after the fact.”

Indeed, the fair’s format was intended for just that purpose. For more information, students were invited to view recordings of involvement fair sessions from the fall, check out the VUGroups database of student organizations (both available on the OSI website) or reach out to groups directly, an option endorsed by all club leaders in attendance, including Villanovan Co-Editor-in-Chief Cate McCusker.

“Of course I would’ve liked to be able to connect with people in person, but I’m still so glad we were able to attend and get the chance to talk to people about The Villanovan,” McCusker said. “I know it’s hard to connect with people over Zoom, so we really encourage anyone to reach out to us if they have questions.”

The rest of the week’s programming included sessions for Culture and Identity organizations, Media, Music and Theater activities and Service, Advocacy and Religious and Spiritual Organizations.

Despite its virtual format, the 2021 Spring Student Involvement Fair was a success, seen in wide student participation and the tireless efforts of the OSI to showcase the University’s huge network of student organizations. The fair served as an ideal way for students to find new ways to get involved on campus, even during a pandemic.