By MAGGIE MCCOTTER
Folding tables filled Ball Circle all morning and into the afternoon, and an anticipatory feeling draped itself around campus as hundreds of students began to gather at one of the University of Mary Washington’s most popular events, Club Carnival.
Walking down the rows filled with sweaty, but smiling, faces creates a sense of community that is found seldom elsewhere on larger school campuses. Familiar faces pass by and interesting clubs are lined up one after the other. Free swag is eagerly handed out and many students sign up for clubs they never dreamed of back in their hometown.
Over 120 clubs, organizations and departments fill Ball Circle only twice a year, and it is an amazing sight to behold. From Rowing Club to Astronomy Club, there is something for every UMW student. Even if there is not a club that is interesting to you, forming one is just as easy. The student need only gather at least five other interested students, fill out a form from Student Activities and Engagement and create a constitution on how the club will be run.
A variety of students run the booths, as well as attend the Carnival. Emily Richardson, a senior majoring in geology, is part of the Club Swim Team. She is on the executive board and decided to represent her club because “it’s good to have all of us be here.” Richardson said that when she was a freshman, she went to Club Carnival because she “wanted to be involved and figure out what to do” on campus. The Club Swim table was very inviting and Richardson mentioned that they had a good retention rate and that there were more freshmen in the club.
The One Note Stand, an acapella group and reigning champions of the Night of the Singing Dead, was also very well represented at Club Carnival. Mackenzie Guenther, a senior majoring in biology, loves being a part of the One Note Stand because they are a “family group” and a “great representation of the UMW community,” mainly because of the “support they provide.”
Guenther continues to come back to Club Carnival because when she was a freshman “it was hard to meet new people” but she was “able to find a group with the same passion [she] had.” Guenther believes that “being in that kind of group is an excellent tool for adjusting to campus life.” The One Note Stand has a single out on Spotify, called Give Love, and is singing in their fall concert on November 9.
On the other side of the booth, hundreds of students flock to Club Carnival, strolling up and down the aisles, browsing different types of clubs and organizations. John Garvey, a sophomore intending to major in psychology, stated that he comes to Club Carnival because of the “excitement of the fall semester beginning and to support friends in clubs.” Garvey enthusiastically said that his favorite club booth so far is “Young Life because they have a prize wheel and they seem like really genuine people.”
Nick Petrillo, a senior geography major, continues to come to Club Carnival because he enjoys “seeing everyone” and “seeing new faces.” His favorite club of the Carnival is “Frisbee because they have cool members.”
Even though it was a very hot and sweaty Club Carnival this year, hundreds of UMW students flocked to Ball Circle to find their current friends and make new ones by joining many unique clubs that only Mary Washington can offer. If the good attendance in spite of the heat is any indication, SAE did a great job of organizing and putting on another successful Club Carnival, a great kickoff to the 2018-2019 school year.