Cody Cousino / Photo editor
Ohio State’s annual Involvement Fair, including more than 1,000 students, clubs and organizations, was moved into the Ohio Union on Monday due to rainy weather.
Around 6 a.m. Monday, an email notification to student-organization leaders, from Union officials, was sent to change the location to the Union.
With about 6,900 freshmen directed to the Union after convocation and other students filing in throughout the afternoon, the Union was packed to capacity for the majority of the day.
The Involvement Fair was open for a four-hour period, and almost every room in the Union was utilized for the fair. The capacity of the rooms utilized at the fair is about 4,400 people.
While moving the fair indoors helped students avoid ruined tri-fold posters and soggy flyers, some students were unhappy with the decision.
Lizzy McLennan, a first-year in business, said she felt “overwhelmed” by the crowds at her first Involvement Fair experience.
“Honestly, it’s kind of hectic,” she said. “It would have been better outside.”‘
In previous years the event has been held outside. Last year was hot and sunny, and the year before that it was cold and raining. Both remained outside.
Union officials were not available for comment.
First-year student Jessica Coon was also disappointed by her first Involvement Fair. She said the Union was “hot and claustrophobic” and that it was hard to find the clubs she wanted to join.
“I wish it was on the Oval,” Coon said.
Stephanie Hancock, a third-year in political science and English, was present at the Involvement Fair both this year and last year.
“I liked it last year better because I am slightly claustrophobic,” Hancock said. “But I liked that it was in the Union because of the rain. It was OK to navigate, and it was easy because it was categorized based on the rooms that the union had.”
With thousands of students coming through the Union during the four hours, some clubs got creative with recruitment methods.
While many tables sported colorful posters and banners, the chess club’s booth featured two tabletop chess boards and a vertically-standing board with slots for the various pieces.
Chess club representative Erik Lahti said with so many other tables, his club engaged the interested students by standing out.
“We get more members by playing games against the students,” Lahti said.
Dan Miller, co-director of recruitment for Buckeyethon, said “having something recognizable” is the key to better recruitment, especially in such a tight space.
“We have a colorful spin-wheel that catches people’s attention,” Miller said. “We also give away prizes and have information ready for interested students.”
Steven Ross, a fourth-year in chemical engineering and leader of Dance Sport OSU, said he did the best he could despite the weather and location change.
For Ross, recruitment is not just about getting students to sign up, but getting them to come to the meetings. He said the “horrendous” crowds made having conversations with interested students difficult.
Miller said he was disappointed in the use of the Union because “there was not enough walking room,” but he hoped the crowds did not deter students from getting involved.
“The Union is too small,” he said. “Some clubs only had half a table.”
Still, some students were excited by the opportunity to get involved.
Colleen Bloss, a first-year in zoology, agreed that an outdoor fair would be less packed, but said the crowds did not deter her from signing up for as many clubs as would fit into her schedule.
“There’s lots of people and so many organizations to try. It’s exciting,” she said. “I’m definitely coming back next year.”
Chelsea Castle contributed to this story.