Involvement Fair returns in person


Audrey Champelli

DePaul students walk through the quad during the Involvement Fair on September 8, the first day of autumn quarter.

On a sunny September afternoon, students strolled the quad, stopping to grab free T-shirts and spirit gear, snagging pieces of candy and gathered around tables to hear student leaders talk about their organizations — you’d almost think it was 2019.

A closer look, however, reveals 2021 realities. In contrast to pre-pandemic times, tables were spread out to accommodate for social distancing, and many students wore masks (not a strict requirement for outdoor gatherings, per DePaul’s Covid-19 guidelines).

This year the Involvement Fair also retained a virtual element in addition to the in-person format. DePaul maintained both options in an attempt to create flexibility and engagement.

The fair was held over three days in a Covid-conscious effort to keep volume low. Each day hosted different kinds of organizations, so students attended days based on what they were interested in.

The in-person format helped new clubs connect with prospective students and answer questions more frequently and smoothly compared to virtually.

“Some people do not know how to use DeHub, so the online fairs had a lot less traction,” said DePaul Fashion Magazine president Sarah Huth. “Everyone was also so much more eager to come talk to us and listen to what our club was about. People also seem a lot more comfortable asking questions in person.”

Clubs were in person from Wednesday to Friday, and the virtual fair was held on Saturday.

Although numbers were not released at time of publication, a spokesperson from the DePaul Office of Student Involvement said that, typically, around 1,000 students attend the involvement fair, and 150 groups showcase their organization.

Huth said that social media presence has helped her connect with students and prospective club members.

“Online interactions are important because some people were [unable] to come to the fair, but through our social media, they can see some of the work that we do,” Huth said. “We have actually gained some of our members from them contacting us through social media.”

However, in-person events may have their tradeoffs: there was an attempted robbery on Wednesday at the beginning of the fair. DePaul Public Safety disclosed that at approximately 1:40 p.m. the offender attempted to rob a backpack. The robbery was unsuccessful, according to a universitywide email from Public Safety.