Students explore more than 300 clubs at ClubFest

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Hundreds of people fill the Great Hall of the Memorial Union for the 2022 fall ClubFest.

More than 300 student clubs and organizations participated in Iowa State’s bi-annual ClubFest Wednesday afternoon.

Hit songs from High School Musical and Lady Gaga streamed out of the Memorial Union’s outdoor speakers while students wandered through the colorful displays crammed throughout the Great Hall, Campanile Room and outdoor terrace.

Several groups passed out flyers, candy and stickers to attract students to their tables, while others relied on word-of-mouth to catch people’s attention.

Representatives from the Student Union Board called out to people in the crowd with colored flyers in hand, and a member of the Ultimate Frisbee Club asked several passing students if they liked to play frisbee.

“[ClubFest] is a little overwhelming,” Ashley Nelson, a freshman studying computer science, said. “It’s bigger than I thought it was going to be.”

Iowa State has more than 900 student organizations, which means students had the chance to meet an estimated one-third of the university’s clubs.

“ClubFest is an opportunity for students to find a place for themselves that matches their interests,” Jamie Hefley, a senior studying biological and pre-medical illustration, said.“It’s chaotic, but you can literally find a club for anything.”

ClubFest accelerates students’ ability to explore new opportunities and helps organizations recruit members to their groups.

New clubs often utilize ClubFest to get their organization off the ground, and returning clubs rely on the event to fill vacancies left by graduated members.

“We get a lot of our new members from ClubFest because a lot of people don’t know that we have a Cosplay Club,” said Merrick Czapplewski, a sophomore studying electrical engineering and the public relations officer for the Cosplay Club. “It’s just an easy way to spread the word.”

This year’s ClubFest ran from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. ClubFest has followed this schedule for several years, but many students find this timing inconvenient.

“It’s difficult for the representatives to make time in their schedules to come here when they have classes to go to and keep their booth manned the entire day,” Hefley said. “I think more people would be able to come enjoy ClubFest if it was later in the afternoon.”

Student Engagement considered moving ClubFest to a different time in previous years, but student survey results from spring 2022 revealed most participants prefer the 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. time frame.

“We try to catch as many students transitioning between classes as possible so we can catch the widest possible audience,” said Tim Reuter, service learning and student organizations coordinator. “In terms of student traffic flow, [11 to 4] tends to be the best time on campus.”

Throughout the event, crowds of people surged past the main doors of the Memorial Union during common class transition times while meandering students left the area with their hands full of papers and candy.

A complete list of Iowa State’s clubs and student organizations can be found on the student organizations’ website.