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Days get a little more interesting when free food and gifts are involved, and when it comes to giveaways, the Red Square Info Fair is known as one of the largest opportunities all year. But the fair is a lot more than prize wheels and goody bags. While thousands enjoyed free candy, water bottles and even basketball tickets courtesy of campus clubs and organizations, booths offered something even more valuable to students. “It’s a good throwing-out of information,” freshman Emma Nixon said. “It’s a good way to meet people too.” While the sheer amount of people was a bit overwhelming at times, seeing the many groups pumping spirit into visitors was a sight not to be missed by students new or old. The fair had a reinvigorating energy in the face of the new year. Many can benefit from a little pep before going back to classes after a long summer, which can make the usually-rainy climate a little grayer. Senior Elspeth Jensen said these benefits far outweigh the anxiety of being in such a large group. “It might be a little overwhelming when you don’t really know anybody, but it’s got opportunities just to find out what’s going on,” Jensen said. Learning to branch out and explore is an experience any student can take beyond the classroom. Thanks to representatives from groups like Bad WWUlf and the A.S. Women’s Center who worked to help everyone feel welcome, that lesson was prevalent at the fair. Plus, Comcast gave out free pizza.

Students visited booths set up in Red Square to learn more about clubs and programs at Western on Monday, Sept. 21. // Photo by Christina Becker
Even some Western alumni who had once visited the fair returned as representatives of their own groups and clubs, giving them an entirely new view of the event. Alumnus Cameron Harris said finding a booth for Campus Christian Fellowship gave him relief from the massive crowds. The experience of meeting people with similar interests and beliefs is an joy the fair spreads every year. But in order to make those experiences happen, students need to take action and put themselves out there — a risk that continues into the school year. There is a place at Western for anyone willing to branch out, and it’s those connections that will make the stress of homework and exams bearable in the weeks to come. Though, showing up for five minutes for a free hot dog isn’t a loss either.

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