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Clive the python and two admirers

Students offered a wide variety at Connections Fair, including meeting a snake named Clive

Along with maybe a thousand of his favorite humans, three-foot-long python Clive enjoyed the fantastic weather on the Science Mall for the Campus Connections Fair on Aug. 31. Organized by the Student Activities Board, the goal was to give about 70 Purdue University Fort Wayne student organizations a chance to recruit new participants. 

Clive was representing the Environmental Resources Center, which promotes the conservation of natural resources, and lots of folks wanted to hold and pet the snake.

Along with lots of information, there were expansive candy giveaways to help everyone maintain a sugar rush in advance of the long holiday weekend. The best way to get involved is by checking out the Student Organizations.

Following are a few tidbits picked up from the information tables:

  • TRIO Student Support Services, one of campus’s most successful organizations with about 150 members, helps first-generation students acclimate and then thrive. 

“They are all looking for community and to make friends, along with a safe place to ask questions,” said Shubitha Keever, associate diversity officer and TRIO programs director. “We don’t just change a person’s life, we change families.”

TRIO staff offer holistic support through one-on-one advising, counseling, and programing such as coffee hours, workshops, camping trips, and a fall break trip to Chicago. The offices are located in Kettler Hall, Room G23.

  • The Destiny Rescue Club supports the Fort Wayne-based nonprofit group that has rescued more than 9,000 from child sex trafficking around the world. President Megan Haley, a senior, and her group hold fundraisers such as a Karaoke Night and a Blackout Human Trafficking Game to raise money and awareness. 

The group will host an informational meeting Sept. 20 from 6 to 7 p.m. in Walb Student Union, Room G08, with guest speaker Jared Ballenger.

  • After sitting idle for two years because of the pandemic, PFW cheerleading is returning with help from sophomore Kaleigh Mays and new coach Hollie Ochoa. They hope to build a 16-member squad to perform at home basketball games with a call-out meeting Monday (Sept. 12) in the Lutheran Health Fieldhouse.
  • According to Black Student Union President T Hardy, the group wants to build off the contributions of its 13 members last year. 

“I’m hoping we can get as many people as possible,” the sophomore said. “I’m taking whatever number God gives us.”

She’ll host an information event at 6 p.m. Sept. 14 in Walb Student Union, Room 114, which will cover information about upcoming events including February’s Black Expo.

  • The Asian American Club started last year with about 20 members and will hold its first meeting of the semester at 2:30 p.m. on Friday in the Liberal Arts Building, Room 258.

“Our main goal is to help everybody learn about our culture,” said Vu Nguyen, club vice president. “Our goal is not to compete with each other but become more of a family. It’s a great way to communicate with others and become friends.”

“We’re really focused on getting students involved and focused on the local, state, and national level,” the junior said. “We try to be active in the state convention and try to get people educated on what politics are and what the Republican platform is. We want to build the community with strong conservative values.”

  • On the other side of the aisle, the College Democrats are getting organized ahead of the next election.

“We’re going to look at the mid-terms and hopefully get a group together to watch the results come in,” said Bobby Way, president. 

  • Mastodon Catholic holds a weekly Mass for members, usually in Helmke Library, with an opportunity for the Sacrament of Reconciliation beforehand. Steven Dellinger, president, said there are also community service opportunities each month.
  • The National Student Speech Language Hearing Association focuses on speech pathology and audiology along with exploring different opportunities in the field. Mackenzie Evans, president, said there are also some wonderful volunteering chances at Turnstone Center for Children and Adults with Disabilities, GiGi’s Playhouse, and at local assisted living facilities.