Student groups seek new members

Organizers often offer free lunch or giveaways to get students to join.

Emma Carew

Many consider fall a time for getting new roommates, buying books and going to football games, but at the University, fall is also a time for free lunch, pens and pencils. As the University welcomes some 5,200 new students this fall, the multitude of student organizations are rampantly attempting to recruit new members.

Student organizations ranging from academic clubs to political groups are holding informational meetings and welcome sessions on an almost daily basis. Groups often offer free lunch or giveaways to persuade students to join their organizations.

“Enticements are often used to get people’s attention,” said Jerry Rinehart, vice provost for student affairs. “The successful groups are the ones that will deliver on the opportunities they offer to the students.”

The Student Activities Office offers a large assortment of clubs and activities for students to join. The office is located in 126 Coffman Union.

Students can browse the different groups and learn about University events at the office’s Web site, www.sao.umn.edu.

Black Student Union

The Black Student Union is an organization on campus that offers tutoring services and a place for black students (or those interested in the culture) to find resources for college, said BSU President Miski Noor.

The BSU hosted a welcome breakfast for first-year students on Thursday to welcome new students to the University and introduce them to BSU resources, she said.

The BSU opening will be at 4 p.m. Wednesday in 209 Coffman Union, Noor said.

Faculty from the African American studies department, the Martin Luther King Jr. Scholars program, and the Office of Multi-Cultural Affairs will be available to inform students of their programs and resources.

Other programs sponsored by the BSU throughout the year include the Big 12 leadership conference and Black History Month, Noor said.

Hindu Student Society

Starting with Paint the Bridge this Thursday, the Hindu Student Society is attempting to help new students, especially international students from India, settle into their new homes at the University, said President Dipen Sangurdekar.

The first large HSS welcoming event combines two Hindu celebrations, the Festival of Lights and Navratri, he said. The event will be at 4:30 p.m. Oct. 9 at the St. Paul Student Center, Sangurdekar said.

The HSS expects nearly 300 students to attend the event, which will include music, dancing and a light show, as well as food and drinks, he said.

New students attending the University can go to weekly meetings and receive mailings from the HSS as well as get help adjusting to the University’s culture. HSS usually hosts one large cultural event per semester.

“We encourage students to have fun and help new students settle in,” Sangurdekar said.

Voices Merging

Voices Merging, a spoken- word group, will host its welcoming event at 6 p.m. Sept. 28 in 8 Rapson Hall, offering free food and the chance to sign up to volunteer for the two-day spring conference, vice president Anu Cherucheril said. “It’s a good way for students to get involved and have a task to do right away,” she said.

General meetings will be held every month or two as the group looks to recruit new members. Students can also get involved with Voices Merging by attending open mic night from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. on the second and fourth Mondays of every month in 2-530 Moos Tower.

Cherucheril described open mic night as a social and educational event.

“What you can learn from is listening to what people put into their journals,” she said. “What they feel is art, it’s a priceless way to get to know them.”

The group consists of approximately 100 students and has expanded to the surrounding community, Cherucheril said.

Asian-American Student Union

The Asian-American Student Union, at 219 Coffman Union, represents Asian-American students on campus and encourages students to learn about Asian-American cultures, Catherine Wang, the group’s vice president, said.

An open house will be from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday to allow students to get to know the room, the board members and the AASU’s resources, she said. Free pizza and pop will be provided.

“I think it’s important for students to get involved in order to meet people, learn about different cultures and about different issues on campus and in our society,” Wang said.

September will serve as the AASU’s kickoff month. It will host a game night on Sept. 22, in which different cultural groups are invited to bring their traditional games and teach other students how to play them. A kickoff bash on Sept. 30 will include ice cream on the Coffman plaza in the afternoon and free gaming and karaoke at Goldy’s Gameroom and the Whole in the evening, she said.

AASU will host a spring conference that will include a movie night, game night and workshops with speakers from the community. It will culminate with the AASU’s yearly banquet, held in the Great Hall in Coffman, Wang said.