New student organizations debut at Fall Fest 2016

Noah Hausmann

The smell of pizza wafted across the University Center lawn on Monday as a sea of students flooded a maze of tables, signs, fliers and smiling faces that made up Fall Fest.

re-FallFest.SSThe 2016 Annual Fall Fest at NMU was organized by the Center for Student Enrichment and the Lake Superior Community Partnership. It is a yearly event that connects students with over 125 student organizations, 20 nonprofits, and 97 local businesses.

“It’s an opportunity to get a glimpse of the greater Marquette area and also what the student body does at NMU,” said Hannah Lewis, assistant director at the Center for Student Enrichment.

“Sometimes students are nervous to sign up or attend meetings or go out into the community. So this event makes it easier for them to get involved.”

There are over 353 registered student organizations at Northern, but this year Fall Fest boasted a number of new student organizations, including the following:

First Wildcats

A group to aid first-generation college students: students whose parents didn’t go to college or were non-traditional students.

“We’re there as a resource for other first generation students, who don’t have parents to draw experience from,” said senior psychology major Kyra Moore, co-president of First Wildcats and a first generation student herself.

At meetings, the group tackles issues important to students, such as “self-care”—how to stay mentally healthy. They also hold study sessions once or twice a week to get students into a routine of studying, provide encouragement and help each other learn.

“First generation students experience college in a different way than other students,” Moore explained. “The group is there to minimize those differences.”

Best Buddies

An internationally-recognized nonprofit new to NMU that pairs individuals with disabilities from the community with college students.

“We’re happy to be doing the program [for them] to pull them out of isolation, so they can build one-on-one friendships and have activities they can go to,” Beth Bertucci, senior secondary education major, said. The meetings between buddies will be biweekly, some individual and some group.

The Northern Climate Network

A group that holds monthly meetings on Fridays at noon, where participants listen to visiting speakers on the topic of climate change. After the presentation, a dialogue opens to discuss what policy actions can be taken to combat the problems.

“It’s about different aspects of climate change and communicating that to Northern students and the Marquette community,” said student coordinator Olivia Walcott, sophomore environmental science major.

Vinyl Record Club

A group turning the tables in defiance to an age of digital music.

“It’s a different kind of listening experience: how the artist intended rather than how a listener on Spotify might arrange it,”  Hannah Hawkins, junior chemistry major and club president, said. “It’s really interesting to get [the artist’s] perspective.”

Monthly meetings help people get started with their listening system: how to play, clean and care for their records, Hawkins said. Anyone is welcome to join.

“The idea of collecting records is a real social activity,” said the club’s advisor, Jon Teichman, an assistant director of admissions. “It’s about sharing and recognizing that we’re all into this thing.”

Gotta Cache Them All

A group connecting people with the outdoors, local history and the Marquette area through geocaching, letterboxing and Pokemon Go. It’s open to everyone and all skill types.

“It’s adventure, outdoors, and fun. It gets people out of their comfort zones,” Melissa Michalek, senior wildlife management major, said.

Friends of the Library

A group that promotes library advocacy by connecting students with alumni who use libraries in their fields.

Membership entails possible perks at the Olson Library, such as private sessions with service dogs and reserved study rooms during exam week, plus a BBQ event during Homecoming, Allee Hill, senior English major and employee at the library, said.

“Really it’s to enhance your library experience just that much more,” Hill said.