First Look Fair successful despite construction in 35th year

The sounds of the ongoing construction on McKeldin Mall could scarcely be heard over the sounds of the First Look Fair this Wednesday and Thursday.

More than 600 clubs, departments and merchants filled the eastern half of the mall with music, tables, tents and props ranging from a giant beach ball to a trampoline.

Kara Sylvain, a freshman enrolled in Letters and Sciences, was surprised to see so many groups represented.

“It’s super crowded, but it’s a good crowded,” Sylvian said. “It just means there’s a lot of things to do on campus I guess. I signed up for more things than I thought I would.”

The event, in its 35th year here at College Park, attracted hundreds of students during its two days on the mall.

The event was unaffected by the construction continuing on the portion of the mall closest to McKeldin Library, and resumed its normal location surrounding the ODK fountain, Manager of Student Organization Development Ashley Venneman said.

Senior physics major Kushal Huq said he was happy to share the message of his club, Gymkana, at the fair. The group, which performs gymnastics at local schools in an effort to encourage healthy, drug-free living, featured club members jumping on a trampoline during the fair.

“It really helps to get our message out to students across campus, because we want them to be a part of our program and we want people who need this program to benefit from it,” he said. “It’s really nice to be doing gymnastics outside of the gym.”

Sophomores Megha Reddy and Gina Hyun, business and finance majors, respectively, returned to the fair for the second year in a row.

“I just wanted to see if there were any clubs that I hadn’t heard about last year,” Reddy said.

Sophomore Peter Wang, a computer engineering major and a member of Consult Your Community, a student group that provides consulting to local businesses, said he enjoyed the opportunity to welcome students to the tight-knit club.

“I just like seeing all of the future club members,” he said. “We’re a pretty close group, so it’s always nice  seeing who’s going to become part of the club.”

Junior Lauren Black and sophomore Namitha Ramakrishna, who manned the table for Gift to Uplift, a club that writes personalized stories for children with long-term illnesses, were grateful for the opportunity to share the club’s mission.

“I think it’s cool just to see people’s reactions the first time we explain the concept to them, because they’re just like ‘That is so cool’ and we’re just like ‘We think so too,’” Black said.

Photos courtesy of Lindsey Collins

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