On Tuesday, 11 September, over 200 of University of Alabama’s student organizations gathered to promote themselves and recruit new members for Get-On-Board Day. Thousands of students crowded the Ferguson Center Promenade gathering information, collecting SWAG (Stuff We All Get) and scribbling their names on e-mail lists. UA departments, local businesses and nonprofits also set up tables with their own presentations and prizes, raising the total number of organizations at the event to 340. GOBD also featured a stage at the Ferguson Plaza, where musical acts performed and organizations spoke during their own spotlight segment.
The groups at GOBD ranged from volunteer opportunities like Beat Hunger Beat Auburn, to enthusiasts of unique interests like the Crimson Tide Ballroom Dancers, to branches of nationwide communities like the NAACP and LGBT. For this journalist, the diversity and scope of the event was a vote of confidence for the face of the university today.
One group that stood out to me was Creative Campus, a body of students from various majors and backgrounds that organizes events from art shows, to special guest speakers to Quidditch games. As they talked through their presentation, one member handed me a piece of multicolored chalk.
She told me that the group’s goal is to “make campus a more interesting place.” Without any instructions on what to write with my chalk or where, she put me in charge of reaching that goal. While the effectiveness of the messages on the sidewalk of the quad is questionable, they are at the very least interesting. GOBD is a sign that now, more than ever, young people like the students at UA have the means and opportunity to make their opinion heard, celebrate what they love and reach out to others. The only thing up to us is the motivation.