by Jonathan Moniz, Staff Writer
The 2016 Corsair Fair, an exhibition and recruiting center for clubs within the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, took place again this year on September 22, from 1:30 to 5:30 p.m. on the field outside the amphitheater.
Typically, the Corsair Fair sees high numbers of first-year students who are still adjusting to the UMass Dartmouth community and campus life.
Not entirely knowledgeable about all that the campus has to offer, the Corsair Fair acts as a way for these students to view clubs and get a general introduction to what each organization has to offer.
Each club presents banners, items, and some form of informational presentation that shows what the club is focused on.
Many also offer free incentives such as candies, bracelets, some sports equipment, and other various items to get the first-years more interested in what the club does, as well as provide them a physical reminder that the club is open and welcome for them to join.
Preparations for the fair began largely on the days leading up the event, starting on Monday, September 19, as campus services erected a large tent and placed tables and chairs down for the clubs.
Many of the clubs rolled out banners and other symbols in order to provide more decorations and attractions for their club.
All types of clubs were present, from religious centered clubs, such as the Center for Religious Life, to athletic clubs, including rugby, soccer, football, and performance arts related clubs, such as 20 Cent Fiction and the UMass Dartmouth Theatre Company.
As the fair went on, Domino’s and other vendors came down and handed out free samples, helping to contribute to the festive air of the event and feed any who particpated.
Many students often congregated there first, and then walked around to enjoy the exhibits and examine the various clubs themselves.
One aspect that was particularly unanimous amongst all the clubs were sign-up sheets for enrollment into their respective clubs.
Club members were inviting to people, informing them of the various benefits of their clubs and explaining what each club could do for the first-years in particular.
They often talked at length with them and answered any and all questions they might have so students could make informed decisions about the organizations they wished to join or attend meetings of.
Many clubs just invited the students to come along to a meeting or two and see if they wished to join in.
Many clubs reported seeing higher enrollment rates after the Corsair Fair. Fatu Woodson, David Waiyaki, and Neoma Uguu of the African Student Association all reported seeing increased enrollment afterwards.
Club leaders theorize that these increases are due to the number of students who came and saw what the club was about, saying that “bigger numbers would attend club meetings after.”
For preparations they had information and objects that showed the spirit of their club, such as a cultural item of Africa.
Amanda Collier of the Rugby Club also commented on this, saying that she appreciated “all the students getting out and getting involved” as it really contributed to the overall sense of community.
They brought trophies and banners and even played impromptu games of catch as a way to entice people in.
Lyndon Davis of the Theatre Company, however, noted not as much of a positive effect with the fair, noting that “if it was earlier it would be more effective.”
The Corsair Fair is one of the few events for first years to get fully invested in the community here at UMass Dartmouth.