More than 850 students gathered on the Fairway at Gateway Community College to sample ice cream and student life as part of the Get the Scoop on Gateway Groups Activities Fair September 26.
“It was a big hit,” said Roberta Prior, director of Student Leadership Program and Activities.
At the event, the line for ice cream sundaes snaked all the way down the long hallway. The premise: Sure, you can get a free sundae, starting with a couple of scoops of ice cream. But to get the toppings, students had to stop by at each of the booths, as one student organization had the hot fudge, another the M & M’s, the crushed Heath bars and another the whipped crème. By the time students assembled their sundaes, they’d stopped by the tables of the Student Government Association, the Poetry and Music Club, the Black Student Association, E-Concerns, the Science Club, the Gay/Straight Alliance, the Art Club and the Drug and Alcohol Recovery Counselor Club. They were among the 19 of GCC’s 27 student organizations represented at the fair. Prior said the student organizations recruited hundreds of new members that day.
“I can’t believe how many people are here; it’s been great,” said Brittany Perry, the SGA treasurer. She said she was happy that so many students came not only for the ice cream but because they seemed to want to become part of the fabric of the campus. “It took me quite a while to get involved. I was shy and I didn’t know what was going on or how to get involved,” Perry said. “But with a new campus like this where everyone can gather and see each other, we are able to reach out to students so everyone feels like they can get involved.”
Prior said the move to the stunning new campus, with so many places for students to congregate and to collaborate, to converse and just be has had a positive impact on student involvement, evident even in these first few weeks of the school year.
“Our President is really dedicated to students and very supportive of student involvement and the new campus lends itself to that. What we find is that being involved is catching. Students join a social organization, hone their leadership skills and they want more of it,” Prior said. “They want to find out what else they can become part of.”
On the same day, SGA held its annual Voter Registration Drive and more than 380 students registered to vote.
Prior said many of the student organizations such as the SGA Student Nurses Association, the Black Student Association, DARC, and the Gay/Straight Alliance are flourishing and the organizations continue to grow. She has already fielded 16 requests for new groups, a record number at the start of an academic year. Students have asked to create a running club, a drama club, a rowing club among others. The prospective organizations need to have a faculty advisor and go through a process to become recognized by the SAG. For a list of student organizations, honor societies and other student groups, click here.
Breyanna Thomas, vice president of the Black Student Association, said the association is a vibrant, growing presence on campus with many plans for the upcoming school year.
“We are a diverse group; anyone can join and we have discussions about how different races view things, like money, school, and marriage. We talk things out. We also hold benefits to raise money for people in need,” she said. The association regularly holds poetry slams and open mic events too.
Christina Alexander of the Gay/Straight Alliance said the alliance is also growing and many students stopped by at the booth to learn more. She said having such a vital alliance creates a feeling of a safety zone, a welcoming place for all people.
Gary McGraw and Unique Flynn, both first year students and both veterans, were manning the Veteran’s Club table. “We want veterans to know we are proud of what they have done and we support their integration back into society when they return from service,” McGraw said. They said they plan to take a trip to the 9/11 Memorial, to hold a number of social events and they hope to host a food drive and make dinner for people in need in the community.
The year promises to be a very active one, Prior said. Events for students, faculty and staff will often be held on the fairway in the middle of the day, so as many people as possible can take part. Singer song writers, comedians and others will perform there. “A lot of our students take the bus and they are here from early in the morning until late in the day so we want them to have activities to be part of,” she said.