Get on Board Day persists despite inclement weatherBy Shahriyar Emami | 09/06/2017 9:47am
On September 5, hundreds of students shuffled through the crowded exterior of the Ferguson Student Center. The sky was grey as rain lightly showered on people adorned with raincoats and umbrellas. From behind booths and under tents, student organization members talked to visiting students and handed out free items. While the weather was not favorable for an extensive campus event such as this, students seemed to be oblivious to the possibility of storms as they participated in this year’s Get On Board Day.
Get On Board Day is part of the University of Alabama’s Week of Welcome, where students can navigate through tents and tables to learn about over 500 student and community organizations accessible through the University. While the event attracts students of all grades, it is a notable attraction to freshmen who want to get involved on campus.
Ashley Cofield, the Coordinator of Student Involvement and a driving force behind GOBD said the event improves every year, either in terms of free gear, food vendors, or the number of organizations. She said GOBD gives students an outlook of what there is to look forward to at the University.
"It shows students so much of what we have to offer at UA with our departments, organizations and vendors in our community," Cofield said.
Cofield said that from securing the location, placing tables, registering organizations and figuring out a theme - this year’s was the 90s, as noted by the Fresh Prince of Bel Air banner placed outside of the Ferguson Center - a lot goes into the planning of GOBD.
From planning the actual event to participating in it, there is no shortage of effort required to have a successful Get On Board Day. Elizabeth LaPaugh, a junior and director of cultural experiences and diversity for the Honors College Assembly First Friends said a lot is required to run a table.
"The HCA president books our spot and we have to get our materials for [GOBD] so kids come to our booth," LaPaugh said. "I’ll be talking to students for a couple hours at the table and I’ll have a laptop to get emails of interested members.”
Less than an hour after GOBD began, the skies opened and the event was eventually relocated to the inside of the Ferguson Center.
“It’s amazing that this many people are still here walking and willing to get soaked just so that they can go around and learn about student organizations on campus," said Bradley Jones, a senior and instrumental music education major. "I think it’s fabulous.”
Gene Fulmer, a senior marketing major and director of engagement for the Student Government Association was also impressed by the persistence of event participants.
“I think [the rain is] affecting how people are tabling but I don’t think it’s affecting the present population that much.” Fulmer said.
While the event continued under the cover of the Ferguson Center fairly successfully, GOBD was officially cancelled at 6 p.m., an hour after the event kicked off.
Despite the deluge of rain and raucous thunder, Get On Board Day will not be rescheduled a second time this year.
However, as described on the UA Student Involvement Facebook page, the event will live on in the form of Organization Takeover. This will take place at the Ferguson Student Center on September 6-7 from 5-11 p.m. Students can learn about more organizations and free food will be available.
For more information and regular updates, students can visit the UA Student Involvement Facebook page.