Valerie Morris
Contributor

The University Partnership reached out to Student Senate for ideas to attract more students to the annual University Partnership Fair. Patrick Keebler, University Partnership program developer, attended Student Senate’s general meeting March 5 to discuss ideas with the students and receive feedback.

The UP Fair, Keebler explained, gives students the chance to meet with representatives from each of the programs in the University Partnership and ask questions about prospective majors. This year the fair is scheduled to take place 3-6 p.m. April 10 in the College Commons.

The primary change this year for the UP fair will be a different location, Keebler said. In previous years, the fair took place in the University Center building. Keebler said the organizers wanted to move it to the College Commons to connect with more students throughout the course of the event.

“I came to this meeting last year, and the feedback I got from the students that were in attendance at that meeting was that it would be better to do it in College Center because it’s a more central location for students,” he said. “So we listened and we acted on that recommendation.”

During the UP Fair, representatives from the partnership programs set up tables and answer students’ questions about their respective program. The partnership has 38 active bachelor’s degree programs, Keebler said, and ideally each will be represented for students who want to learn more. The partnership also offers 11 master’s degree programs.

Part of Keebler’s purpose in speaking to students at the general meeting was to brainstorm on ways to ensure more students are aware of the fair, and how to encourage them to participate. He said typically the UP Fair has about a hundred students attend to meet with representatives, but the goal is to increase that number.

“I think the people that are in our building currently are either UP students, or they’re Academic Foundation students. So we miss all of the other divisions,” Keebler said.

Student senators suggested Keebler look into ways to make the UP Fair fun, engage students and encourage them to stay longer and chat with representatives.  President Crystal Morgan suggested playing music, not too loud or distracting, in the background to help the space feel more welcoming. Other suggestions included having a raffle during the event, or trivia games on the main stage.

“It needs to be something where (students) are going to associate fun with it, because you put the word ‘Fair’ on it and fair is associated with fun. There might be some people, like me, who might think it would be fun to go around to the different tables,” said Charlene Dellipoala, vice president of Student Senate. “There will be a lot of students who might not find that fun, so the more fun you can make students associate with it, the more participation you’re going to get.”

The question was brought up about whether the time of the event, 3-6 p.m., was the best for many students to attend.

Keigan Russell, financial secretary for Student Senate, agreed that the time might not be ideal for many full-time students to visit the fair.

“For evening events, it’s hard to get a lot of students because they either have plans that night, homework, or those students that are parents have to go home to their children,” Russell said.

Keebler said it is too late to adjust the time for this year’s fair, but he will take Student Senate’s concerns into consideration for future planning meetings.

Senate members also advised promoting the event through teachers from each division and circulating fliers to the clubs on campus. Russell also offered to post the digital version of the flier to Student Senate’s Facebook page in an effort to spread the word.

Also discussed at the meeting were plans for some kind of March Madness themed tournament hosted by core:tech. Russell said possible prizes core:tech might provide could be items such as an iTunes gift card, Apple TV or in iPad mini. Morgan said it was important to come up with a tournament that would be fair to all participants, whether they were skilled at basketball or just a novice. She said all students should have a fair chance at winning. It was suggested to create teams to conduct skill drills, and possibly have contests in multiple sports available instead of just basketball. No date was decided yet, though it is slated for after spring break.

Also discussed were plans for the Spring Fling, to take place April 21-25. Russell said the Spring Fling coincides with the Scholastic Book Fair and a blood drive on April 22 and 23, so the stage and hallway will be occupied on those days. Student clubs were advised to plan events accordingly. The Senate is looking for bands to perform on the main stage during the days when the stage is open.

The Society of Professional Journalists Student Chapter is hoping to have a speaker give a presentation during the week. Los Unidos club members haven’t finalized what they intend to do, but expressed interest in a cornhole tournament.