Cal U hosts virtual club and organization fair


Jeff Helsel

A file photo from the Cal U Club and Organization Fair, Convocation Center, California University of Pennsylvania, Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018. This year’s fall fair was held online while the university is operating remotely due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Kaitlyn Collins, Staff Writer

COVID-19 caused numerous Cal U events to be canceled this year, but it could not halt the Club and Organization Fair.

Occurring every semester, the Club and Organization Fair brings campus clubs and organizations together to showcase what they do, and to recruit new people. This event usually occurs outside of the Natali student center, weather permitting, or inside the student center in the Performance Center. However, due to the online semester, the fair was virtual this year and lasted a full week instead of just a few hours. It began on Sept. 28 and ended on Oct. 2.

Cal Times, Fall 2020

Over 40 clubs and organizations participated this year. These groups included Greek life, religious organizations, social groups, major-based groups, academic groups and more. Participating groups were asked to create a video up to 90 seconds giving some background information on their organization and explaining what they do. They were to include their social medias, and how they contribute to campus life. Each video was uploaded to the CUTV YouTube channel and were posted on the CUTV Twitter account.

The fair serves as a way for new students on campus to be introduced to ways to become involved. The virtual fair was a different experience than usual, but the clubs and organizations still advertised to try and reach as many people as they could.

An organization that is usually in attendance at the fair is the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ). It is dedicated to the ethical practice of journalism, and they focus on the development of student journalists.

Cal U Society of Professional Journalists' (SPJ) Club, Fall 2020

SPJ president, Hannah Wyman, 21, said that something she really liked was how the club and organization videos they filmed are timeless.

“They didn’t want us to say any dates or names specifically so it could be used in the future,” said Wyman.

According to Wyman, she missed having the opportunity to see members of other clubs and meet new people.

“Everything is so crowded, and you’re surrounded by all of these tables,” said Wyman. “You see people you know but you didn’t know they were a part of certain clubs and you can learn about them and their interests. I think that was always so cool to just walk around and see people.”

The Vulcan Dance Team also participated in this year’s virtual fair. They perform at home football and basketball games to enhance school spirit, and they also compete in competitions.  Dance team president, Natalie Wiest, 20, missed talking to the freshmen and encouraging them to try out for the team.

Cal U Dance Team

“I think it’s really hard because a lot of people used to come up to our table with questions about the dance team. It’s hard to make sure that we’ve answered everything that people might want to know in our video,” said Wiest.

“We do still have a video for the Org Fair so at least we still get that exposure,” said Wiest. “Not everyone comes out to the fair and it’s always crowded, so now people at home can kind of pick and choose which videos they want to watch. They could always reach out to us with questions.”

The videos created by the clubs and organizations will continue to be on the CUTV YouTube page and Twitter. Students are able to watch them at their own leisure and can reach out to club/organization members at any time throughout the semester.

“Don’t be afraid to reach out,” said Wyman. “I know it can be super hard to do things virtually and to talk to people you haven’t met before over email or GroupMe. People are still trying to remain active given the virtual semester, and more participants help with that. I feel like there’s nothing to lose if you reach out.”

View the full playlist of videos from the Virtual Cal U Club and Organization Fair at this link:

CUTV YouTube / 2020 Cal U Clubs