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Main Street Offers Giant Variety of Clubs for Students to Join

With music blaring, hamburgers cooking and hundreds upon hundreds of students milling around on Old Dominion University's Kaufman Mall, 200 student groups made their pitch - come and join our club.

The annual event, known as Main Street, was held Thursday, Sept. 3. Down both sides of the angled sidewalks bisecting the mall in front of Webb University Center, representatives of religious groups, activity clubs, fraternities, sororities - just about any student group imaginable - talked up their organizations to prospective recruits.

"It's so important that we do this early in the year," said Dionicia Mahler-Rogers, assistant director for student activities and leadership. "The freshmen have arrived on campus, they may be lonely, they may be feeling out of place. What better way to get people involved in their school, make friends and feel like they're part of the school."

The displays ranged from Spartan to downright interactive. The French club had baguettes and Nutella. And members of the three martial arts clubs had a stack of wood boards they were breaking with their fists.

"I broke the first board with my head. The people who were watching just walked away. I hope I didn't scare them off," said Chris Backus, a senior majoring in English and professional writing who is president of the ODU Karate Club.

"We actually want people to try breaking the boards themselves," Backus said, motioning to the wooden planks in a plastic bag on the table. "Do you want to try it? The key is not to punch the board, but to punch through it."

A group of theatre students, known collectively as the Starving Artists, got some attention from passersby, but admittedly not a rush.

"It's been OK, because a lot of people didn't know ODU has a theatre program," laughed Cayley Waldo, a senior theatre major who is in charge of the club this year.

"We're doing really exciting shows this year, so we're hoping to get people to come out, or more importantly, try out."

Auditions for the University Theatre's two fall shows were taking place this week.

At the Asian Pacific American Student Union booth, Tricia Galvez said students of Asian heritage were stopping by, as well as international students who are studying at ODU.

"Some of them say, 'Is it OK that my English isn't very good?' We tell them of course. They really appreciate meeting people of common culture and heritage," said Galvez, a sophomore studying international relations.

Two chatty nursing students said they were having good success convincing freshman nursing students to join the Nursing Students Association.

"There are a lot of things going on through the year, like volunteer events throughout the semester, and a lot of the nursing students want to get involved," said Shana Holmbeck, a junior nursing major.

"We had our first meeting already, and we were overloaded with people. People are really excited about it."

Mahler-Rogers said she is confident that just about every student who attended the Main Street event will find a club or group with which they can connect from among the 200 that put up displays.

"But we want everyone involved. We tell people, if you don't see a club that you like, and have an idea, let us know and we'll start one."

This article was posted on: September 4, 2009

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