By Valerie Battaglia
Like moths to a flame, students swarmed around club tables adorned with colorful candy bowls and eye popping in the Marple Campus courtyard during the Fall Festival held Sept. 19.
The scent of fresh, warm, buttery popcorn filled the air alongside the sound of live music and even livelier discussions among students and faculty.
“There were 28 tables at our Fall Festival and at least 20 clubs had members representing them,” said Allyson Gleason, director of campus life. “We still had information and sign-up sheets for clubs who maybe had members in class and couldn’t be at the event.”
Many of the club leaders manning the tables were new students who expressed their delight over the diverse activities and extracurricular opportunities available at DCCC.
“I already love it here,” said Dean Robinson, a new student and liberal arts major.
Although it’s his first semester, Robinson decided to take up a leadership role with the Anime and Gaming Club because of his friends who had already been a part of it.
“I’m the leader of the Martial Arts Club, but I’m also representing the LGBTQ Club,” said Dajoure Jong, a new student and computer science major. “I’m surprised by how much activity there is
on campus – and there were even more students at the Fall Festival yesterday.”
Keanna Rico, a liberal arts major and member of the newly formed DCCC Band, expressed a similar sentiment.
“I’m really surprised by all of the activities on campus, but I’m even more surprised by how engaged students are,” Rico said. “You never see that in high school, or any school, really.”
The band is led by computer science major Jeantel Romain.
“I began leading the band in my third year because music is something I’ve always enjoyed doing in my spare time,” Romain said. “I’ve been playing the trombone on and off since fifth grade.”
Liberal arts major Ben Phillips, who had joined the band two hours prior to the Fall Festival, said it inspired him to start bringing his guitar to campus.
“I played the guitar in middle school and a bit throughout high school, but I was afraid to bring [my guitar] on campus with me,” Phillips explained.
After he saw other students playing instruments on campus, he said he realized he could bring his guitar to DCCC and joined the band.
Another club that gives a voice to students, the New Media Lab, was recruiting new members for their podcast productions. “Every student is assigned a role, whether it’s planning episodes, writing, editing, or working with the audio,” said Alex Joyce, a communication arts major.
Currently, the New Media Lab is running two series: “This Must Be Heard,” which covers events on campus, and “Study Break,” which is about pop culture, said communications professor Maria Boyd.
To the left of the New Media Lab’s table, the Phi Theta Kappa Honors Society was decorated with golden balloons and members invited students to learn more about PTK’s involvement on campus.
“Right now, we’re working on our Honors in Action project, which makes us eligible for national awards,” said paralegal studies major Brittany Murphy. “For our project, we’re focusing on student identity. Essentially, we want to know what makes DCCC the community that it is.”
Murphy explained how PTK had started their project by interviewing international students last year. Now, they’re focusing more on every student’s identity and how it relates to DCCC.
“Once we ask students about their identity, we’re going to take their pictures, lay them all out, and have a discussion about it,” Murphy said.
Another member of the PTK Honors Society, general studies major Charlie Books, expressed his surprise over all of the academic programs on campus.
“When I initially went to college in the 1960s, there really wasn’t much choice [between majors],” Books said. “There are so many more majors now. It’s incredible.”
At the neighboring table, Emily Simkovich, a math and natural sciences major, said the Women in STEM club will be focusing on incorporating more activities this semester.
“We’d like to do a fundraiser, maybe a bake sale, for the Hearts for Hardship organization,” Simkovich said. “We also might do a movie night this semester.”
Simkovich and information technology major Cindy White explained that Women in STEM hopes to have professional women in the STEM field speak at their club in the coming weeks as well.
“There’s certainly a lot to do and [many clubs] to join,” said William Short, a new student and business major. “I’m already an athlete here, but it’s still nice to look at all of these club options.”
Psychology major Aliyah Brodie said she was already a member of the Psychology Club and Black Student Union, but still enjoyed mingling with other club members at the Fall Festival.
The League of Women Voters also had a table at the Fall Festival where they distributed voter registration forms to students.
“We are a nonpartisan organization founded in the early 1900s,” explained James Ziegelhoffer, a representative with the LWV. “We drove the movement for the women’s right to vote in 1920.”
The LWV is open to both men and women, regardless of party affiliation, Ziegelhoffer added.
“The organization provides information about upcoming elections,” he continued. “We also hold events on social issues relevant on a local as well as a national level.”
Although national elections tend to get the highest voter turnout, local elections are even more important because they affect our daily lives, according to Ziegelhoffer.
During the general elections this November, citizens will be voting on municipal roles, such as county and city officials, judges, and magisterial district judges, according to Votes PA.
It’s a county commissioner’s duty to stay in contact with their constituents and deal with tax complaints, sidewalk or street light issues, among other responsibilities that come with overseeing a county, states the National Association of Counties’ website.
“Everything is affected by who we elect on a township, county, and state level,” Ziegelhoffer said. “Whether you’re young or old, it’s important to get educated about who is running. Education is power.”
Contact Valerie Battaglia at email@example.com