The Illinois State University Quad was buzzing Thursday for Festival ISU, when registered student organizations (RSOs), local businesses and University groups introduce themselves to students.
There are around 400 RSOs on the Illinois State campus, and many of them were out in force Thursday making their pitch – giving away free stuff helps — to prospective members. The full RSO roster includes everything from Acafellaz, an A cappella singing group, to the Zeta Tau Alpha sorority.
Here’s a look at three RSOs at Festival ISU, and how their leaders became so passionate about their club. Post your own memories from your favorite student group in the Comments below.
Junior Ross Miner started his RSO in the spring 2012 semester, looking for a way to keep playing handball, a sport similar to soccer in which two seven-player teams pass a ball and try to throw it into the goal of the other team.
Miner himself is a Team USA handball player, and he only got into the game about three and a half years ago, after seeing the sport in competition at the Beijing Olympics. Miner was able to recruit 10 students to his club last year, and six came back for 2012-13. But because you need about 25 to field two competitive teams, Miner was out at Festival ISU looking for new members.
“It’s fast-paced, high speed, very physical,” Miner said. “It’s everything that Americans want in a sport. It’s just that most people don’t know it exists.”
The Team Handball sport club had its first practice Tuesday and drew 25 students. The sport club recruitment expo helped boost numbers, said Miner.
“Teaching (handball) is still a way to be playing,” Miner said.
Fiercely Love Yourself (FLY)
The name of Meme Awoniyi‘s new organization says it all: Fiercely Love Yourself (FLY).
The senior English major created the RSO just this year, looking to create an outlet for students to guide and help one another. FLY is devoted to helping students love themselves “on the inside and on the outside,” focusing on mental, physical and spiritual wellness, Awoniyi said.
FLY meets twice a month in the Bone Student Center. If you’re going on a job interview, FLY members can help each other decide what to wear. If you’re having a tough day, FLY members can help you talk through it and get the root of the issue, Awoniyi said.
“It’s all about the different things people need to love themselves, on the inside and on the outside,” Awoniyi said.
Awoniyi said she wants to help younger students avoid the same mistakes she made as a freshman. Awoniyi’s passion for helping others comes from her mother, who she called a “selfless” woman who was always available for others.
“I want to be a better woman, so I follow in her footsteps,” Awoniyi said.
Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization (CEO)
Senior Kyle Willenborg caught the entrepreneurial bug from his father, who opened his own framing business in Peoria more than 20 years ago.
“I don’t want to work for anybody else,” said Willenborg, who studies entrepreneurship in the College of Business at Illinois State and is a member of the University’s Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization chapter.
CEO’s goal is to inspire college students to be entrepreneurial and seek opportunity through enterprise creation. The organization brings in local business owners to speak to the group, and members go out on site visits to companies too. Willenborg recalls one recent visit to a paintball-manufacturing firm near Rockford as inspiring, in part because the owner is an Illinois State alumnus.
Willenborg saw a friend at the CEO table at a recruitment event last year and decided to join. At their campus meetings, students spitball their ideas for future companies. If someone has a question that only a lawyer can answer, then they find a local lawyer and bring them in for a guest-speaking visit.
“When you come to the meetings, I really feel like what I say counts,” Willenborg said.
Ryan Denham can be reached at email@example.com.