Activities Fair Likely To Be Pushed Back Next Year

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.

For the first time in recent history, the Swarthmore Activities Fair was held a week later than planned, on September 4, due to weather concerns arising from Hurricane Irene. The later date proved such a success, according to students and deans interviewed, that Dean Braun is considering moving next year’s fair to the second Saturday after first-years arrive.

“It seemed like the date change gave upperclass students more time to get organized for the fair and it also provided an opportunity for upperclass students as well as first year students to explore and get connected to the amazing array of student organizations,” Dean of Students, Elizabeth Braun said. “I would say that it’s not official yet, but based on the success and positive feedback that we’ve received from students it seems likely that we would strongly consider making this move official.”

Ariel Finegold ’13, Lang Center Intern and Activities Fair Organizer, agreed with the Dean.

“Having upperclassmen on campus allowed us to get the whole campus involved,” she said. “We got a lot of positive feedback because of the change.”

Camille Robertson ’13, coordinator of Ecosphere (a coalition of six environmentally-focused groups), noted that while many groups were initially disappointed with the arrangement, the extra preparation time improved the fair overall.


  1. Hey! Wait! I think there are also some groups which would have rather had the activities fair at the usual time. I’m specifically talking about the my a cappella group, but I think it may be true for other performance groups) that have to hold auditions.

    Groups that had to audition new members this year had to delay auditions by a week because of the activities fair. This means that rehearsals could not start until a week later. As a result, we expect that we will have even more of a time crunch than usual before our performances this semester. In general, I think pushing back the activities fair this year has made things more difficult for us.

    I agree that it was nice to see so many people present and involved at the fair, but can this opinion be taken into consideration to?

  2. Agreed with Nina! But it’s not just a cappella groups.

    Student groups that require as much of the semester as possible in order to function efficiently and effectively might have been put in a bind with that one week of nothing before the fair. Another example: Swing Club offers PE credit to members who come each week (Mondays at 9pm, btw, for anyone who’s interested), but we could not hold our first meeting during the first week of classes because no activities fair meant that nobody knew about it, or about any of the other PE-dance clubs like tango or contra, for that matter. Quite a few freshmen I talked to were confused as to how to get involved with these clubs for PE credit because there wasn’t any way to disseminate that information to everyone before classes started.

  3. This article talks to THREE people, and none are club presidents or, as the article suggests, first-years or upperclassmen themselves.

    The one week delay was in no way helpful–clubs need to organize quickly to capture first-years before they start their classes and lose any willingness to fit clubs into their schedules. Upperclassmen are usually on campus the saturday and sunday before school starts anyhow, and can be reached thru more traditional methods that are not immediately familiar to the incoming class (the digest, namely).

    P.S. I sound cranky bc I really need coffee right now, sorry 😉

  4. Valid points regarding the PE-related clubs and the a capella/performance groups. If the Activities Fair were to be moved to the first weekend after classes began, this would free up a time slot for these groups to present to first-years at the end of Orientation Week, when the Activities Fair was originally scheduled. An indoor venue could be chosen which would bypass the weather-related difficulties.

    @Susana ’14 – Both Ariel and Camille, quoted in the article, are upperclassmen as well as student leaders of effective and long-running student groups on campus (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance, EcoSphere Groups, Suscom, Lang Center Interns; and Ariel belongs to an a capella group as well.) While your opinion has merit and is worthy of consideration, I DO want to correct your misunderstanding about the students quoted, as they represent a number of active and popular student groups. Both of them were instrumental in enacting the Activities Fair this year under very difficult circumstances, given the unexpected delay. I applaud their efforts, and hope that with adequate caffeine intake, you might be less dismissive of their opinion.

    • Ok Deb K-B. Yes, the two students quoted are valid sources, but they are still only two students. I think the administration should check with Student Council before deciding to move the activities fair.
      And honestly, I don’t think the activities fair was anymore successful than any other year that I’ve been here. It was not any more organized. The only difference I saw was that the “people in charge” had “cool” Lang shirts, which I guess is a good thing?

  5. In response to the idea that if the activities fair were moved, groups would be able to perform on the last Sunday of orientation:

    Traditionally, the a cappella groups do perform on the last day of orientation, actually in conjunction with the activities fair – the performance usually occurs right after the fair. So if the fair were not moved, that performance would occur anyway, and the pairing of the two events has worked quite well for our groups in the past.

    But even for groups that are performance based, the activities fair plays a key role in informing students about what our group does, and our audition process. We had many more people sign up to audition during the activities fair, indicating that we would still want to hold audition slots after the activities fair. Basically, my point is that if the activities fair were postponed, even if groups could perform the weekend before, the same delay in getting started would happen.

    I am just concerned that this decision would be made without taking a wider survey of student groups. If the majority of groups would approve of this change, then it would make sense to implement it. However, I am not sure if that is really the case.

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