ClubFest provides students sense of community


Photo: Heran Guan/Iowa State Dai

Quinn Murphy, then-freshman in computer engineering, Lauren Wickham Kolstad, then-senior in mechanical engineering and Richard Henry Meyer, then-freshman in construction engineering, introduce their robot at ClubFest in the Sun Room at the Memorial Union on Jan. 23, 2013.

Carolina Colon

For more than 10 years, ClubFest has been giving students the opportunity to find a new experience or hobby at Iowa State.

ClubFest will take place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Jan. 21 in the Great Hall of the Memorial Union. More than 200 ISU organizations and 15 volunteer agencies from Ames will gather to talk to the crowd of students who approach each booth.

ClubFest provides new interests to students who are looking for a different hobby, or even something new to write on their resumé.

Tayler Keitzer, graduate student in education, encouraged students to attend ClubFest to expand their communication skills and knowledge.

“There is something for everyone,” Keitzer said. “A really good mix of agricultural, religious and even athletic [clubs]. It’s a really good opportunity to showcase new activities or hobbies students can learn … a great opportunity to interact face-to-face with organizations.”

Keitzer said students should come early to the event to have more time to interact and socialize with the clubs of their interest.

“Come early,” Keitzer said. “Don’t wait till the last minute to come. Talk to as many organizations as you can.”

Carly Crist, junior in psychology and president of the ISU Pre-Law Club, said she hopes to make sure that students interested in the club don’t lose that enthusiasm after ClubFest.

“I believe the best way to keep students interested in a club is to make sure you know what they want to get out of being a member,” Crist said.

Crystal Jones-Sotomayor, senior in genetics and president of iResearch, explained her second experience with ClubFest.

“ClubFest has helped my club to get more members,” Jones-Sotomayor said. “We started with only the cabinet members, and thanks to ClubFest,  students got encouraged with the benefits of our organization.”

iResearch is a club that attempts to create an environment for professional networking, build career availability awareness and development for undergraduate students in STEM fields.

The club also encourages students to network with faculty about graduate school, internships and other research opportunities.

Kaitlyn Romitti, senior in dietetics and president of the Collegiate 4-H club, talked about how many students are encouraged by ClubFest.

“We usually get a few from the first Clubfest in the fall,” Romitti said. ”And fewer from the one in the spring.”

Romitti gave advice to other clubs that want to get involved in the showcase.

“Be friendly and have fun,” Romitti said. “We may join extracurricular activities for professional development, to give back, or to learn new things, but the most important reason people will stay is because it is welcoming and a place for belonging, which is very important when you are in a new and constantly changing environment at college.”