Blaring music, colorful posters and hundreds of students filled up Hooker Fields Sunday for a memorable FallFest.
Hosted by the Carolina Union, students learned about campus organizations, took in performances from campus groups and collected giveaway items.
“It’s just really awesome to see everything this university has to offer and just how many different clubs there are,” first-year Adam Tatum said. “You can really find anything.”
FallFest followed New Student Convocation for first-year and transfer students. Hundreds of campus clubs, sports, performance teams and academic departments looked to recruit new members.
“It was a little overwhelming at first so we decided to do the food first and then come back,” first-year Kalei Small said. “I think that was the best idea possible because now we’re actually stopping at every single booth, so that’s fun.”
Though many new students attended FallFest, upperclassmen also returned.
"I didn’t get to see all of it last year, so I was trying to go for that this year and I definitely saw a lot," sophomore Danya Zarate-Centeno said. "I signed up for a couple clubs that I really like, and you get a ton of cool free stuff.”
Zarate-Centeno said attending FallFest and staying involved in the clubs she’d signed up for helped her during her first year.
“It helped me a lot last year as a first-year because I attended the club, the general body meeting and I met a ton of different people,” she said. “And I became friends with some of them, and I’m still friends with some of them right now, too.”
Campus organizations at FallFest wanted to expand their communities by bringing together students of common interests. Sophomores Arya Pontula and Lauren McCormick represented UNC’s chapter of Partners in Health Engage, a nonprofit organization focused on global healthcare.
“A lot of people who come are people in the public health school so they’re all really interested in public health," McCormick said. "We’ve had some good cross-sectional interest of other people as well.”
Sophomore Cara Kuuskvere worked a table for the Residence Hall Association, comprised of the 15 community governments across campus. With a majority of students living on campus, RHA members felt it was important to explain their goals for UNC student life.
“We do a lot of things to build community in the dorms,” Kuuskvere said. “We also promote advocacy with social justice, environmental advocacy and we just try to make dorm life great for all of our residents.”
Organizations like RHA also work to connect students living on campus with on-campus leadership opportunities.
“We want to get students interested in running for governor of their dorms and their community governments and just excited about living on campus and attending the events in all their dorms,” Kuuskvere said.
For many students, FallFest was an opportunity to transition into campus life as they prepare for classes to begin on Tuesday.
“I think everyone here is just so welcoming and I think that’s just representing what class and school is going to be like,” Small said.
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