Eight new student groups will join hundreds of other groups at the Student Activities Fair this Sunday.
Georgetown University Signs, the Georgetown Development Initiative, Georgetown Individuals Vocal and Energetic for Service, the Pre-Law Society, Riqueza Dominicana, the Chess Club, GSWAG and Tappin’ Jacks were all officially recognized by the Student Activities Commission at the end of last semester.
SAC changed the name of the event from SAC Fair to Student Activities Fair last year, before the spring semester event.
“The name change came about to reflect the scope of the fair and to more actively engage other advisory boards in the planning process,” SAC Chair Jennifer Chiang (SFS ’15) said.
The core mission of the fair remains the same, according to the SAC Commissioner who coordinated the fair.
Philip Dearing (COL ’15), co-founder of GIVES, said that his club had not originally planned to apply for Student Activities Commission recognition, but ultimately realized the advantages of SAC funding and official affiliation with the university.
GIVES, which has approximately 100 members, is dedicated to stewardship, service and random acts of kindness.
“We’re hoping that it will be such a shining light of positivity, that it’s going to shine throughout the entire campus,” Dearing said. “A major goal of ours for this semester is to increase our effect, to make it a little more profound, a little more deep, to make people think about what we’ve been given.”
The Georgetown Development Initiative also emphasizes compassion and service, but on a larger scale. According to co-founder Berk Guler (COL ’14), the group aims to produce and take action on specific, sustainable, small-scale and innovative development projects that will benefit communities in need around the world, while cooperating with local and international NGOs and receiving assistance from experienced faculty.
“Throughout the semester, we will research and choose from several small-scale projects to work on and also try to evaluate the effectiveness of our efforts,” Guler said.
Kelly Kimball (NHS ’16) — founder of Tappin’ Jacks, a tap dancing group — also noted the advantages of full SAC recognition.
“Now that we have access to benefits we are able to get our club into the rehearsal schedule, so we’ll be able to have more consistent rehearsals,” she said. “We want to have a good-sized group performing at Posada.”
While SAC benefits are awarded to these newly recognized groups, some groups, such as fraternities and H*yas for Choice, are unable to gain SAC recognition and can only table in free-speech zones.
Alan Chen (MSB ’14), co-founder of the Georgetown Chess Club, said that his organization has been operating since last fall, but required a full year to meet SAC’s membership requirements.
“Last fall we only had around 12 members,” he said. “Starting last spring we started grabbing a table on Lau 2 once a week and lay out our chess sets.”
Chen hopes that as a SAC group, the club will be able to acquire at least 10 chess sets, have more than 20 regular members and send members to professional chess competitions to represent Georgetown.
Timothy Loh (SFS ’16), co-founder of SIGNS, said he was inspired to help found a sign language and deaf culture club because of his work at a deaf ministry back home.
“Frankly, we the founders were surprised that a sign language [and] deaf culture club like ours did not exist in Georgetown and so we decided to create one,” he said. “We plan to conduct [American Sign Language] classes, raise awareness about deafness and connect with the larger deaf community in D.C.”
Adam Kaldor (COL ’14) said that he founded the Georgetown Pre-Law Society because he felt there was no organization helping students understand the law profession.
“A student group such as GPS will be able to reach out to all these potential law students, and aid them in understanding what exactly they are getting themselves into and how to best tackle each step,” he said. “However, rather than being purely informational, we would also like GPS to act as a place for active discussion of current topics in law.”
GSWAG, the Georgetown Speechwriting Advisory Group, brings together students who are interested in learning more about speechwriting and improving their written communication skills, GSWAG President Will Simmons (COL ’16) said. The group invites speechwriters and communications professionals to campus to share their experiences and stories with its members, and it is planning on running a pilot program for the Annual D.C. Speechwriting Contest this fall.
“GSWAG is about more than just speechwriting,” he said. “While that is our defining centerpiece, we have members who specialize in marketing, strategic planning, operations and finance.”
Riqueza Dominicana, launched in fall 2012, aims to provide a cultural home for Dominicans and Dominican-Americans on campus and to share Dominican culture with Georgetown.