Iowa State University student clubs resume in-person activities

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Attendance at student clubs was just one of many things disrupted by the pandemic, but some normalcy returned Wednesday with Iowa State’s annual ClubFest.

A chance for students to meet other students at booths to learn about many organizations on campus, ClubFest was a mix of inside and outside Memorial Union, in-person and virtual this year.

Nonetheless, Rosa Aguilera — a graduate student with Admissions Outreach Ambassadors — said less than an hour of ClubFest on Wednesday generated more interest in the club from students than the entire event last year.

Admissions Outreach Ambassadors work with prospective students to answer their questions and build campus connections, Aguilera said.

Iowa State University students look around at various booths during ClubFest at Memorial Union on Wednesday, Sept. 8, 2021, in Ames, Iowa.

She said attendance was low last year at virtual events, so it was good to connect with potential students again in person. “They feel more at home.”

Kate Budziak, a fifth-year student with Socialize with Pride, said it’s also especially important for LGBTQ students to be able to connect in person.

Budziak said that by walking around, it’s impossible to know if someone is part of the community.

Having a place to socialize — to be yourself — gives students the ability to find people, she said.

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The club actually started during the pandemic, but has since moved from a combination of virtual and in-person meetings to only in-person meetings, she said.

While it’s still strongly encouraged that people wear masks to protect themselves and others from COVID-19, Omar Waheed — a senior who serves as vice president of the AA Stand Up Comedy Club — said facial expressions are important to comedy and that they’re something that’s more visible again with loosened restrictions.

Waheed said the comedy club continues to have open mic nights, but it’s good to see people having fun again, to see people laughing and smiling.

Nick Demarce and Adam Holesha, members of the Grandma Mojo improv comedy group, hand out cards during Iowa State University's ClubFest at the Memorial Union on Wednesday, September 8, 2021 in Ames, Iowa.

The first club show of the semester is Friday night.

Sophomore Neal Gudmunson said jokes aren’t required to participate.

However, Gudmunson had his own joke to share: “I recently met a bodybuilding bird,” emphasizing the b- “…crazy pecks.”

More information on all of the clubs represented at ClubFest this year can be found at StudentEngagement.iastate.edu/sac-annual-events/clubfestfall/clubfest-2019-alpha-list.

Phillip Sitter covers education for the Ames Tribune, including Iowa State University and PreK-12 schools in Ames and elsewhere in Story County. Phillip can be contacted by email at psitter@gannett.com. He’s on Twitter @pslifeisabeauty.

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