At the beginning of semester — as part of the Student Union Society’s weeks of welcoming — students both new and old can meet, and learn more about student clubs and associations and how to sign up for them at the U-Join. However, the Winter 2016 edition of U-Join was more than a little lackluster.
Held in the Great Hall of the Student Union Building once again, this U-Join (which ran from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Tuesday, January 12) was the opposite of the fall one; in September, the Great Hall was packed for most of the event. This time around, it was a cavernous, empty maw. Where so many clubs reported a long list of new sign ups and interested students last fall, last Tuesday was notable only in that the event was so poorly attended that several clubs packed their information tables up and left early. Some, in fact, didn’t even show up.
While students did pop in and express interest in getting involved in their student community outside of the classroom, the turnout was remarkably (or maybe not so remarkably) low. It’s understandable that the winter U-Join wouldn’t be as successful as it’s autumnal predecessor. After all, the weather’s turned for the worse, it’s colder, days are short, and students are still recovering from their holiday excesses, slowly turning back towards the hard-nosed life of academia. Whereas the beginning of the fall semester is generally full of students eager and ready to dive into the school year with aplomb, the winter one is far more ominous and stressful; this is the time of year that school is seen as something that you just want to get through, to be finished with.
Even so, it would have been nice to see some more students come out and enjoy themselves. Actually, it would have been nice to see some more clubs come out and enjoy themselves, too. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case for several reasons, ranging from a lack of prep time following the holidays, to not being able to plan or schedule a team to run the table.
Those clubs and associations that did attend, however, put on a good showing. E-Sports Valley had Rock Band and Super Smash Bros. available for play, CIVL radio blared some sweet tunes in the corner, and the pen and paper tabletop club showed just how fun card and board games can be (and how nice it can be to take a break from a lifestyle revolving around technology). These groups, plus many others that were present, made the event enjoyable. But even though the clubs and associations that did attend were clearly putting thought and effort into ensuring they could promote themselves and attract students to engage with them and one another outside of their studies, it could have been better.