The free speech restrictions around O’ Donovan Hall once again prevented student groups that are not recognized by the university from tabling at the Student Activities Fair Jan. 11.
During the SA Fair, student groups that are unrecognized by the university were only permitted to table outside or hand out flyers inside Leo’s.
“Unlike Red Square, the outside area adjacent to Leo’s is not designated for tabling, which is why groups last [spring] semester were instructed to only hand out flyers,” Center for Student Engagement Associate Director Amanda Carlton wrote in an email.
For the Student Activities Commission, which organizes the fair, the planning process includes keeping in mind the needs of all student groups, including unrecognized groups. Greek affiliates like sororities and fraternities, clubs that conflict with university policies like the pro-choice H*yas for Choice and other organizations that have yet to gain SAC approval are all among unrecognized groups.
“It’s just kind of being flexible with it, it’s just understanding that every single student wants groups to represent their groups and understanding that there’s an administrative reasoning with student groups,” Student Activities Commissioner Priyanka Bagrodia (SFS ’16) said.
Bagrodia noted that distributing flyers inside Leo’s was permitted as long as group members did not overwhelm students and keep them from accessing recognized groups.
“The administrative reasoning behind it is because Georgetown doesn’t recognize the groups like sororities, frats, so if people say that they signed up for sororities and frats at the Student Activities Fair, then we’d be held liable,” Bagrodia said. “That’s why we can’t have them officially table with all the other groups, but I still want Hoyas to like the groups, so we allow them to flyer inside.”
For members of the unrecognized groups, strategizing ways to reach out to students is important in the face of barriers created by the inability to access benefits available to other clubs. However, the setup of the SA Fair may have helped these groups receive more student attention.
“I think actually it’s going to work even better because we’re going to be outside at the front, so even as people walk in they will pass by us,” Sigma Alpha Epsilon Deputy Recruitment Chair Tanner Davis (SFS ’17) said.
SAE cited 140 students who demonstrated interest in the fraternity, either by attending an information session or rushing in the fall semester.
“I don’t think the fact that we’re not recognized by the school is a deterrent at all,” Davis said.
The SA Fair additionally featured six new SAC groups this semester.
“I think student life communities at Georgetown have been growing,” SAC Chair Patrick Musgrave (COL ’16) said. “It’s six more SAC groups, but definitely there are going to be more groups, and it’s going to provide a larger fair so people can really find their interests.”