Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Students get involved with UIS

By Courtney Westlake

Students packed through the concourse of the Public Affairs Center's lower level on Wednesday evening to get an idea about what opportunities UIS offers in terms of clubs, organizations and more.

The semi-annual Involvement Expo allows campus clubs, departments and groups to set up booths in the PAC, showcasing their missions and activities to interested students.

"The Involvement Expo is a very exciting event; it's probably one of our most successful events of the year," said Cynthia Thompson, director of the Office of Student Life, which coordinates the Expo. "It's an opportunity for campus departments, student organizations and local businesses to showcase what they've got to the new students. The students get very excited; it really gives them a chance to show off their organizations."

The Involvement Expo takes place twice a year, in the beginning of the fall and the spring semesters, Thompson said.

"Every time during First Week we do this," she said. "Each semester, we have new students, and we want to introduce them to Student Life and student activities."

Ashleen Woods, co-president of the Vegetarian Club at UIS, said the club has become very active in the last couple of years and wanted to showcase itself at the expo.

"The main thing we like to do is provide information for people if they're interested in vegetarianism," she said. "We're always welcoming members; it doesn't matter if you're a vegetarian or not. We welcome everybody, and it's just a great way to be part of student activities."

Ana Morales, president of ESCAPE, or Entrepreneurs of Space Concepts and Planet Exploration, said the club is currently working with the Entrepreneurship Club at UIS to give students the opportunity to gain business experience and form possible entrepreneurship opportunities.

Morales said the club was very interested in having a booth at the expo to share information about ESCAPE. ESCAPE had a game set up at the Involvement Expo to engage passing students and give out prizes, along with information about the club.

"It's a very good way for students to see what's out there," she said. "A lot of people don't know how maneuver through the Web sites. This is a good way to attract students and let them know what we're doing."