Students have a chance to find their identities on the Bluff with expo

Emma Polen | News Editor | Skyler Wrubleski (left) and Amandalynne Davis (right) tabled for orientation.

Emma Polen | News Editor

Jan. 19, 2023

Students have plenty of opportunities to get more involved at the Bluff this week with the annual spring expo.

While students visiting the tables will be signing up for a club for the first time, the students tabling for their campus organizations have already been positively influenced by their choices to become involved here at Duquesne.

The expo began Tuesday morning and will run 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. through the end of the week. Various campus clubs, organizations and social groups will be tabling on the second and third floors of the Union.

On Tuesday, students visiting the organization tables shared how they hope increasing their involvement on campus will help them in the future.

Rosemarie Franjoine, a junior psychology major, was looking to meet more friends, she said, and to “find something to do when I’m not in class.”

On the other side of the tables, students are looking forward to welcoming new members into organizations that have already made an impact on their own lives.

Abbey Powell, a sophomore biology major, tabled for Ecology club at the Union. Besides the obvious ways in which her club pertains to her interests in nature, Powell presented her club as “mainly social” in which all majors are welcome.

“You don’t have to love science,” Powell said.

For a city campus like Pittsburgh, Powell believes it is important for those with an interest in the outdoors and in the environment to seek out opportunities to “explore that interest.”

Maddy Gormley, a graduate student in higher education, did not have in-person student expos when she studied for her undergraduate degree at University of Pittsburgh.

Gormley tabled for Center for Student Involvement on Tuesday in the Union.

For her, the experience was useful because the expo allowed students to “actually talk to people about [clubs] versus just reading about it online.”

Faith Rebich, junior English and journalism major, is part of Gamma Sigma Sigma, a co-ed service sorority. Originally, she joined the club to follow through with a personal commitment she has to community service.

“I went to a Catholic all-girls school where we were required to do service,” she said. “ so just getting to continue that throughout my life [appeals to me].”

Rebich has been part of Gamma Sigma Sigma for about a year, and she has enjoyed service projects like the Relay for Life, a community walk that raises money for the American Cancer Society.

These projects have allowed Rebich to work joyfully alongside other like-minded individuals.

“Joining people together who have the like interest of serving their community while also finding friends along the way,” she said. “I’ve also met my best friends through this.”

For some students, the organizations they joined as an undergraduate changed their entire career goal.

Tiffany Kells, a graduate student in higher education as well, is currently employed with Duquesne’s Center for Student Involvement.

She believes the student expo helps students make face-to-face connections in a way campus link or email recruitment cannot, especially for freshmen and new students.

During Kells’ own first year of college, she joined the freshman orientation program at the university.

“From there on, I realized that I wanted to work in higher ed,” Kells said. “By getting involved, I decided what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.”

“I wouldn’t be here as a grad student if it weren’t for getting involved,” she said.

Current orientation leaders also shared how the organization shaped their future goals at their expo table on Tuesday.

Junior Amandalynne Davis is majoring in philosophy and international security studies (ISS), a decision she made after meeting another ISS major through being a team leader at freshman orientation.

“[Team leaders] are the first friendly face that people get to see on campus,” she said.

In fact, even signing up as a team leader was the result of a connection made during her own freshman orientation, Davis said. Now that she is part of the organization, Davis said she will continue to spread that joy she found with orientation.

“I get to come here and share the love for what I have, now,” she said.

In the same way that organizations like freshman orientation helped students find their identities, new clubs on campus are hoping to do the same.

Maddie Fitzgerald, a freshman environmental science major, is launching oSTEM next fall.

oSTEM was created to help fill a need for LGBTQ+ clubs for the STEM field at Duquesne, she said.

“A lot of universities around Pittsburgh have them, and they’re really helpful for professional connections into the workforce and also getting a community together,” Fitzgerald said.

She hopes that having oSTEM “there as a resource” will help future Duquesne students find an identity on campus.

Elyse Barnes is another student hoping to reach a new population on campus with her club, Girl Gains Lifting Club.

“I’m always in the gym and a lot of my friends were reaching out to me asking if I could show them how to lift,” she said.

So, Barnes applied for Duquesne to join the national Girl Gains Club, founded in 2020, and now her lifting experience can be shared with any girl wanting to join her in the Power Center officially this spring.

“Women belong in the weight room,” Barnes said.

For these emerging organizations, the spring expo served as a way to put the word about their club out to the student body for the first time.

Each club at the student expo represented a part of the collective identity at Duquesne, one which provides social, service or networking opportunities for a number of fields of interest on campus.

After the student expo finished, Duquesne organizations can still be found online on campus link and on social media.