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Student Involvement Fair Offers In-Depth Guide to Campus Organizations, Glimpse into MC’s Culture

Kelsey Sanchez, assistant director of first-year experience in Student Engagement, said the Student Involvement Fair presents an opportunity to place all of what MC has to offer in front of its students.
Kelsey Sanchez, assistant director of first-year experience in Student Engagement, said the Student Involvement Fair presents an opportunity to place all of what MC has to offer in front of its students.

When Anne Bigley arrived at Mississippi College from Dallas, Texas, last academic year, the newly minted Choctaw was eager to become involved in campus life.

She wasn’t sure which organizations would peak her interest – let alone how to join them.

After attending the Office of Student Engagement-sponsored Student Involvement Fair, all of her questions about campus life had been answered.

“Seeing the various organizations that I could become involved in and having the opportunity to ask members of each group questions was very helpful,” Bigley said.

The event provides a “one-stop shop” for every organization and department at MC to inform students about their mission and values and how they contribute to the campus environment.

Bigley joined Dance Marathon, Mississippi College’s philanthropic initiative to support Children’s of Mississippi in Jackson. The yearlong effort culminates in a night of dancing, refreshments, and fundraising during the spring.

Now a sophomore pursuing a degree in nursing, Bigley plans to attend the 2024 Student Involvement Fair, scheduled from 3:30-5 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 11, in Alumni Hall, to recruit new members to Dance Marathon and help other students learn more about her group. About 35 organizations are scheduled to participate in the event.

“By exposing students to various campus organizations, hopefully they will find an area of interest to participate in,” said Bigley, who serves as director of logistics for Dance Marathon. “Students can expect to see a variety, each with its own representatives to answer questions.

“Because it is a fair, students are not expected to commit to any organizations. They can simply focus on meeting people and gathering information.”

Kelsey Sanchez, assistant director of first-year experience in Student Engagement, said research has shown that students who choose to become involved in organizations outside of the classroom enjoy a more robust collegiate experience.

“They are more successful, both inside the classroom and all around,” Sanchez said. “We see them graduate at a higher rate. We see them enjoy and find satisfaction in their college experience. So, we want them to become involved.

“The Student Involvement Fair is an opportunity for us to place all of what MC has to offer in front of them. It is their chance to take that step and choose what they’re interested in.”

She said Student Engagement hosts at least one Student Involvement Fair each semester.

“We host it at the beginning of the year because we have new students on campus in the fall and the spring,” Sanchez said. “Some of these students may not have connected with a group or found their place on campus, so we offer them more opportunities.

“Any representative who wants to participate can showcase what their organization or academic department does at MC. Students can learn more about them and choose the groups they would like to become involved in.”

To a casual observer, the event may look like a job fair, with representatives engaging students, handing out brochures and treats, and directing visitors to backdrop-laden tables adorned with decorations. To Sanchez, the event is a microcosm of the Clinton campus.

“It’s a picture of what life on MC’s campus looks like,” she said. “You see representatives from many student-led organizations, like the Multicultural Student Association, and different academic departments, such as the School of Nursing. Different degree programs and minors, like the African-American Studies Program, like to showcase different opportunities they have for student involvement.”

Student participation is vital to these organizations because they form the backbone of a thriving collegiate culture, Bigley said.

“While I have had the opportunity to take classes from some amazing professors, my experience outside the classroom is what has really shaped my time at Mississippi College,” she said. “The Student Involvement Fair provides the opportunity for students to explore the various ways they can become involved outside of the classroom. With such a wide variety of organizations, every student will have the chance to find something to be passionate about.”

Sanchez said the fair provides a glimpse into what makes current student-life activities unlike any other at Mississippi College.

“Some organizations showcase what students are into at the moment,” she said. For example: “One of our newer organizations is the swing dancing team. They like to get together and have fun. A few years ago, our students weren’t as interested in swing dancing.

“This event covers what our students are involved in, so you get to see the heart of who MC is as a campus. Once, we had a scuba-diving organization at MC. We may soon have an organization dedicated to robotics or some other activity.”

She said the fair is beneficial to all MC students – not just freshmen or new transfers.

“We offer this event to every student on our campus,” she said. “Many times, students get to their sophomore or junior years and decide they’d like to participate in something different than what they chose as freshmen. Or they may not have had the time to become involved in an organization before.

“Whether they’re brand new or they’ve been here for three or more years, there is something at MC for all our students. We want to help them find their place.”

Bigley said the fair presents an outstanding opportunity to recruit MC students for Dance Marathon.

“The Student Involvement Fair will help spread awareness about our organization and expose students to our mission,” she said. “We hope to enlist our fellow students to aid in this amazing cause.”