By ALLISON TOVEY
On Wednesday, Jan. 16, Student Activities and Engagement (SAE) hosted the Winter Club Carnival which featured over 100 clubs and organizations. From 5-8 p.m. in the University Center, students could discover new ways to get involved on campus, including club sports.
For many club sports, Club Carnival is essential in building and growing their teams as well as promoting their sport. Senior art history major and club softball president Elisabeth Haas said, “Club Carnival is where our club recruits the majority of our club members. We always have a great experience at Club Carnival, as it is the first time our executive board sees each other after the breaks. It’s always fun promoting and showing others how awesome our club is, while also getting to recruit and meet possible new club members.”
Junior communication and digital studies major and women’s club basketball president Erika Mabry also relies on Club Carnival for new members, saying, “So for us, this year has been a rebuilding year for our team. So Club Carnival was very important in order to recruit new members. All of our members actually came from Club Carnival this year, since we were rebuilding our club. So without that, we would have no one. Overall, the experience was great and definitely helped our club.”
Club sports are available to all full-time students regardless of skill level. Even so, club sport leaders find it difficult to recruit new members who worry about being inexperienced. Junior creative writing and primary education major and women’s club soccer president Carolyn Rouse said, “Sometimes people think that to join our club you have to be a certain skill level, but that’s not true and we try to convey that to people as they walk by. However, this year our social chair sophomore Heather Stevens-Wood was great at showing people that our club is for anyone that is interested in soccer. ”
Sophomore historic preservation major and men’s club volleyball president Connor Martin added, “We take any level of skill on our team. We like to teach people skills and we want to improve, and improve we have done.”
Though many teams rely on the fall Club Carnival, they have found the winter Club Carnival to be less successful in recruiting new members, with a number of teams choosing not to participate in the winter Club Carnival at all. Haas said, “The fall Club Carnival is where we get the majority of new members. In the spring Club Carnival we only get a handful of new members, since it’s the second semester.”
Rouse agreed, saying, “The winter Club Carnival is always slower than the fall, so you really have to get out there.”
In order to grab the attention of passing students who might be interested in joining club sports, Martin says, “At Club Carnival, we often bring a poster board with some information such as practice times and our history. We also brought some gear that we have such as our jerseys so that people can see we are a team. We also like to bring volleyballs to Club Carnival as well because we think it’s fun if people can play with them that way they can experience playing volleyball.”
Senior German major and Quidditch team member Elizabeth Parsons finds the University Center setting to be less enjoyable than the fall Club Carnival on Ball Circle. “I’m pretty happy with how many people we got to sign up for Quidditch. The only issue we kept running in to was how loud the Colonnade Room was. All of the club sports were in one small room which made it hard to hear others and get people’s attention. Sometimes it felt like I had to yell so that people could hear what I was trying to say when they asked me what Quidditch was. Overall, I think that we were pretty successful recruiting new members on Wednesday despite being in such a loud space. I think that we might have been more successful if we had more space and didn’t have to yell for people to hear us easily,” Parsons says.
Overall, club sport leaders find the biannual Club Carnival to be incredibly helpful in recruiting and reaching out to students interested in becoming student athletes. Senior art history major and men’s club lacrosse president Kyle Sargent said, “Personally I think Club Carnival is a great opportunity to meet potential new members and allow them to see what our club is all about while making connections so they won’t be nervous about coming out to practices and team bonding events.”