By Ally Tobler
For University of Maryland students overwhelmed with the size of the First Look Fair in mid-September, the Unity Welcome Fair and Festival gave UMD students the opportunity to seek out more personalized introductions.
Hosted by the Office of Multi-Ethnic Student Education (OMSE) in Stamp Student Union Sept. 27, and co-sponsored by the Office of Multicultural Involvement and Community Advocacy, the Unity Fair and Festival showcased campus organizations beneficial to student academic and personal development.
The event featured about 50 on-campus resources in academic departments, campus departments and student organizations. Groups included the African Diaspora Reading Group, Kappa Lambda Xi: Multicultural Sorority Inc., the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology the Career Center Division of Information Technology and University Libraries.VSA lights up McKeldin Mall with Lunar Lanterns to help stop human trafficking
“I think that the Unity Fair is a lot more scaled-back [compared to the First Look Fair], and allows people to really connect with the people at the tables,” senior economics and government and politics double major Adwoa Boateng said. “At this point in the semester, people know what they’re thinking of getting involved in. It’s timed well.”
With more than 800 clubs at this university, the chances of some of them flying under a student’s radar are fairly high.
“[The Unity Fair] exposes people to a lot of different organizations that are around campus that have different backgrounds and different cultures that people may not know about,” senior criminology and criminal justice and African American double major Caroline Boisseau said.
Not only does the Unity Fair showcase lesser-known clubs, it also serves as an exhibition for student services.
“These are organizations [that] want diverse terps, as well as the general population, to come and see the services that they provide,” OMSE assistant director of marketing and technology Tunji Sawyer said.
OMSE’s central mission is “recruitment, retention and academic support for undergraduate multi-ethnic students,” according to Sawyer.
The College Success Scholars Program, one of OMSE’s cohort-based programs, caters to black and Latino males preparing academically and professionally, according to its website. Other similar programs include Sister to Sister, which focuses on women at universities, and La Familia, a program that pairs first-year Latinx students with an upperclassman mentor to help facilitate their academic and personal growths.
“This event shows that this campus is a very safe and inclusive place, and there is something for everyone and [organizations] that people can identify strongly with,” senior math and science education major Sabrina Elshafei said.