Opinion: The activities fair is a can't miss event for all years

By Kelsie Smith | September 2, 2016 1:53pm

When you first walk into the Chiles Center you will notice a small but important plaque on the wall to your right.

“The University of Portland,” it reads, “Where the heart meets the mind.”

The following three paragraphs on the plaque boast the valor of Pilot tradition, both in and out of the classroom. But the most important words are: “Students explore who they are and who they want to be.”

A UP student is a person who recognizes and lives out what it means to use one’s head, heart and hands for the betterment of the self, others and the world. The Activities Fair is one place where you, as a UP student, can grow and excel in all three of these concepts. This sets our school apart from any other. And I think that’s pretty special.

This year’s Activities Fair will be held in the Chiles Center on Sept. 2nd from 4:30-6:30 p.m. Rows upon rows of tables and smiling faces will welcome you and invite you to learn about their collective passions and hobbies. Signing up for clubs and student organizations is an important tool in bridging academic, professional, and lived experiences.

There are more than 90 clubs and student organizations active at UP.

Whether you are an incoming freshman, a transfer student , a rising upperclassman or an “I’m-almost-done-with-this-place” senior, I encourage you to take part in attending the Fall 2016 Activities Fair. There is something for everyone.

Freshmen: After your first week of classes and living in the dorms while trying to be as social as you can (when all you really want to do is lay in bed and breath for one minute), I encourage you to push yourselves one more time.

Sign up for something that makes you laugh or that makes you “nerd-out.” Being around people who share your passions will only brighten your college experience. And being around people who think differently than you will only bring further perspective into your life.

I joined two clubs on my first Friday at UP, and I am still active in those clubs. I also signed up for clubs that I don’t regularly attend, but I still enjoy skimming the weekly emails to stay in the loop. I would not have known which ones I would thrive in if I had not signed up for such a variety of clubs. If something piques your slightest interest, jot your name down. There are no strings attached to writing down your up.edu email address on a sign-up sheet.

Sophomores: You have had a year to adjust to college and campus. Remember to take chances while you still have the time! I joined Speech and Debate Union my sophomore year, and it has been an enriching experience. Your passions and desires may have changed over the past year, and the Activities Fair may be the place for you to explore. While you still have time to adjust your vision and goals, do something you had always wanted to. You may be surprised by the adventure it could bring.

Juniors: You are halfway through your undergraduate career, which means you have two beautiful years of self-exploration left here at UP (that is, if you are sticking to the 4-year plan). You have two years to excel in something you had always been too nervous to try, but now that you are an upperclassman, you have all the confidence in the world, right? And with two years of higher education under your belt, it may be time to push yourself with the more challenging or academically stimulating organizations offered.

Seniors: I can only sympathize about how it feels to be leaving this place soon. Maybe UP has helped you, healed you, comforted you or transformed you. It may have also pushed you to feel uncomfortable and to challenge you. Share your experiences with the rest of us; share your knowledge of what it was like at UP three years ago before new residence halls were made and the old Pilot House sported its grungy charm. Share your unique perspective to members of UP’s student clubs and organizations.

Everyone: Do not miss out on this opportunity to create future friendships, laugh, let loose and sign up to serve.

Hope to see you there!