By Lauren Turner
The Big Fair at UMHB is a Welcome Week staple that introduces activities and clubs available to students while they are in college. On Thursday, Aug. 5, King Street was lined with tables with smiling students who were ready to present their organizations to the incoming class of 2025. Katy Hartt, the assistant director of student organizations, said that this year’s fair was an adaptation of the same event in the past, but with some adjustments.
“In years past everyone went at the same time,” Hartt said. She was referring to the three groups of students that went in after one another to the fair. Group 1 went to the fair at 10:00 a.m., Group 2 at 10:30 a.m., and the third group went at 11:00 a.m. to King Street to check out the fair.
“Last year we split it into three groups to spread it out, because we had to,” she said, in reference to keeping numbers of people down as they went through the fair during the pandemic.
“This year we liked it because everybody wasn’t there at the same time and people were able to have more conversations,” Hartt said. She pointed out that this also helped reduce noise levels so that people could converse better at the fair.
Not all incoming students made it to Welcome Week, with some arriving late and others missing last minute, but Ms. Hartt said there are plenty of ways to find information and get plugged in on campus.
“Definitely check on our website,” Hartt said. “[Go to] UMHB’s website and the Student Organizations tab, and you can browse organizations we have on campus. [Students] can get contact information there and they are always welcome to stop by our office.”
Hartt also noted that the Student Organizations’ Instagram page (@so_umhb) is a great place to get general information about what is happening each week, and that students can apply to start their own organization if they do not find one they are interested in, or if they just have a new idea for a club.
“On our website …. there is the application to form a student organization, so you just have to have a little meeting talking about what you’re wanting to start, and then you have to have at least ten people who are interested in it as well,” Hartt explained. “You have to write up a constitution, and then you present through SGA and go through the approval process for that.”
Hartt noted that each new organization must also be sponsored by a full time UMHB faculty member.
“It’s simple but it does take some time,” she noted. Hartt also had some advice for students that may be nervous or hesitant to get involved.
“Definitely find something that interests you… maybe something that you did in high school and [see] if we offer something similar,” Hartt said. “If that’s not for you then see what other organizations we have. Also, through our offices we have different traditions that [students] can be a part of.”
There is no shortage of opportunities to get involved at UMHB, and with the Student Organizations office so ready to help, there are endless opportunities for everyone. Student life isn’t the same without connections, and joining a group with similar interests as you is the perfect place to start.
“Even if it’s just one thing, do one thing so that you can get plugged in, start to meet students, and really make UMHB home,” Hartt said.