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Club Fair an opportunity for growth and finding one’s passion
New students at American University of Sharjah (AUS) had an opportunity to expand their horizons, learn more about themselves and their interests, gain new skills and make new friends at the Club Fair held virtually this spring on February 1.
Close to 70 cultural and interest-oriented clubs and academic associations participated in the popular event, which is held at the start of each semester.
The Club Fair is one of many events and activities AUS offers as part of its commitment to give students an encompassing academic and social experience that leads to the growth and refinement of their cultural, academic, sporting and artistic interests.
Organized by the Office of Student Affairs (OSA), the event also featured the AUS Student Council, and seven departments from OSA including Community Service and Outreach, Student Residential Life, Peer Mediators, Student Athletics and Recreation and others. Also participating were the hosts of the trending OSA podcast, Tea with Gen Z, which discusses popular topics, offers advice for Gen Z and shines a light on youth talent.
On Zoom, students enjoyed live events including two meditation and relaxation events offered by the Student Athletics and Recreation Department as well as activities organized by the Interactive Games Club, American Institute of Graphic Arts, IEEE Sight AUS Chapter, Game Development Club, Bangladeshi Cultural Club, Egyptian Cultural Club and Jordanian Cultural Club.
Othman Nafe, President of the AUS Student Council, spoke about the value of participating in extracurricular activities for students, particularly for those who are new to university.
“Developing social skills is as important as academia. When you join a club—be it cultural, interest-oriented or even academic—you will be meeting new people as well as individuals who have similar interests to yours. You will be able to build a wide network, which is very important, especially if you just joined university and you want to build friendships and get to know people,” he said.
Nafe, a computer engineering major with a minor in marketing in his last year, spoke about how joining a student club enhanced his student experience. He said: “My beginnings were with the Palestinian Cultural Club. I did not know anyone when I joined AUS. I signed up for the Palestinian Cultural Club because I loved seeing how students came together, organized events, interacted with one another. It was fun and interesting. Eventually, I found myself making friends and building a community around me. The next year, I was selected to join the club’s board and became activities coordinator.”
Nafe’s journey as a student leader began in high school, and after further honing his leadership skills at AUS, he decided to run for Student Council President and won in Spring 2021.
“Students will realize the impact of being part of student clubs as they advance in university and after graduation. You learn how to manage people, be a leader and a team player. You gain organizational skills and your network of contacts expands,” he said.
At AUS, students are encouraged to start clubs that suit their particular interests. Subbulakshmi Natarjan, a management information systems student, decided to establish the Risk Analysis Club on her own. “The club focuses on issues related to identifying risks in different fields. This is an area not many people are aware of, so I wanted to establish a club that covers this domain,” she said.
Natarjan added: “The way I see it, clubs are a wonderful opportunity to meet people. Join a club that interests you and be part of organizing the club’s events. Joining clubs is also a wonderful way to get an opportunity to take a leadership position, like joining the club’s board or even starting our own club. Your university experience will be richer.”
Dr. Lisa Moscaritolo, Executive Director of Student Experience at AUS, noted that AUS is constantly striving to enrich the university experience for students.
“Getting students engaged with extracurricular activities is one of our objectives to help enhance their AUS student experience. Club Fair is one of our many platforms that create awareness about the wide variety of extracurricular opportunities offered by the university. Students can connect with peers who have similar interests, network and build friendships, and pursue their passion.”
For more information on student clubs and organizations at AUS, visit www.aus.edu/life-at-aus/student-life/clubs-and-organizations.