This year’s Festifall was bigger than ever, with 623 students organizations setting up tables in North Ingalls Mall, according to the Center for Campus Involvement.
Last year,approximately 500 clubs participated in the annual club fair, which is held on the first Friday of school each year.. According to Devon Vaughn, the organization consultant for the Center for Campus Involvement, they needed to add more tables and spread out to make more space for more new clubs on campus this year.
LSA senior Amanda Gross, co-President of MUSIC Matters, a student-run nonprofit that hosts concerts on campus, explained Festifall has always been instrumental in attracting a variety of new members to the club.
“We want to get as many kids as possible,” Gross said. “A large bulk of the kids that do show up — we get their signatures through Festifall. We don’t want to have to target any specific groups on campus and this way anybody who wants to can find out about us.”
Business sophomore Nina Farahanchi, a member of the Persian Students Association, was dancing in front of her organization’s table with a boombox in one hand. Farahanchi emphasized that it’s the energy at Festifall that draws potential members in.
“You need to be energetic and interactive,” Farahanchi said. “You have to shout things out and not assume that everyone can see your board.”
LSA freshman Deren Guzel Tekce said the event was successful in introducing her to the non-academic opportunities at the University.
“I wanted to find out about the clubs at the University of Michigan and I guess collect information about the areas I’m interested or things that I want to try out,” Tekce said.
Tekce explained Festifall, with its range of different clubs, targets not only those with specific interests in mind but also caters to those trying to find new interests or hobbies.
“I was sure I was going to join a dance team,” Tekce said. “But I also want to try out some other sports like jiu jitsu.”
LSA junior Chloe Shang, an involvement coordinator for the Center for Campus Involvement, played an integral role in organizing the event. Shang acted as the main liaison between CCI and the various organizations seeking a spot in Festifall.
“The logistics are the hardest part,” she said. “Since there are so many organizations, making sure that every club either hears a firm, ‘yes you can come to Festifall,’ or ‘no we don’t have enough tables for you’… was a bit of a problem this year. Some clubs felt like it didn’t come out soon enough or it was really rushed. I think clear communication is really important.”
LSA sophomore Sally Pham attended Festifall for the second time this year. Pham expressed some concerns regarding event logistics.
“I feel like the event could be better,” Pham said. “It’s really disorganized and chaotic. I feel like they need a bigger space, because most of the time you’re just working through the crowds and it’s really difficult to hear people. It’s just overwhelming.”
According to Engineering senior Noah Dobbertin, co-president of MUSIC Matters alongside Gross, the location is an improvement from Festifall his sophomore year, when it was held on the Diag.
“The Diag was … overall too small of a space for this many clubs to participate,” Dobbertin said.
Despite the crowded nature of the event, many students cited the energy of the crowd as their favorite part of the event.
“Being able to see the fruits of your labor is the most fulfilling part of the job,” Shang said. “You can see the students coming together. You can see them finding their own spots, joining organizations and meeting new people.”