With the annual Student Activities Fair just around the corner, Georgetown’s student groups are planning new ways to attract members and awareness. Relay for Life, Georgetown University College Democrats and College Republicans and the Georgetown University Lecture Fund, among others, have worked this summer to revamp their organizations and gear up for the fall semester.

Same Goal, New Strategy for Relay for Life
After seeing a 30 percent drop in donations last year, Georgetown University Relay for Life is reconsidering its recruitment and fundraising strategies.

According to Special Events Chair Liz Abello (COL ’14), the organization attracts many freshmen at the Student Activities Fair: Approximately 500 students signed up for Relay for Life at last year’s fair. But she said she believes recruiting more upperclassmen is key to future success.

“We are going to do a better job of targeting upperclassmen, because as freshmen, it’s the cool thing to do, but they don’t really come back. They just think of it as a one-time thing,” Abello said. “We want to put emphasis on the fact that this is a fundraising event and people should do more than pay that $10 entry fee.”

This year, Relay plans to advertise the event in locations where more upperclassmen gather.

Maintaining enthusiasm throughout the all-night event is another goal.

According to Survivorship Committee member and 2012 keynote speaker David Weis (COL ’14), only a small group of students stayed for the entire event last year.

“I know that it’s tough because everyone lives right next to the football field, but I would like to see more people actually stay for the entire event,” he said.

Relay for Life plans to hold its first kick-off event in January and then continue to encourage students and the community to begin fundraising early.

“I think a more active, earlier push for fundraising, rather than last-minute emails, would help,” Weis said.

Political Groups Hit the Campaign Trail
With the presidential election around the corner, students on both sides of the aisle are gearing up for what promises to be a roller-coaster campaign season.

Despite differing political views, College Dems and GUCR are teaming up to encourage students to register to vote.

According to Dems President Joe Vandegriff (COL ’14), the two groups are collaborating with the Georgetown University Student Association and D.C. Students Speak to hold a voter registration drive this fall.

College Dems and GUCR plan to campaign respectively for President Barack Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney in Virginia, a key state in the election.

Vandegriff hopes the election will spark political interests and opinions in previously undecided students.

“Too often, kids our age don’t care about politics,” Vandegriff said. “[As] people become more political, they are more likely to think about what they believe, [and] you see undecideds become more active.”

GUCR Director of Communications Katie Bolas (COL ’15) echoed Vandegriff’s hope for more student participation this semester, emphasizing GUCR’s focus on recruiting freshmen.

“One of our main goals is to focus on younger members of the Republican Party. We want to see more permanent members,” she said.

Lecture Fund Nabs Celebrity Speakers, GUSA Partnership
The Georgetown University Lecture Fund is the only club that can truthfully boast about having organized events that included former U.S. President Bill Clinton, former Secretary of StateCondoleezza Rice and controversial author and actor Mike Daisey. This year, GULF plans to invite more celebrity and entertainment figures, according to Vice Chair for External Affairs Aanika Patel (SFS ’13).

The Lecture Fund has also formed a partnership with GUSA this year, resulting in a larger budget for big-name events, according to Patel.

In the past, the Student Activities Commission determined the Lecture Fund’s budget for the year, but the new relationship with GUSA allows the organization to receive funding for events when partnered with organizations outside of SAC.

“We thought that GUSA and its broader scope better fit our goals,” she said.

Actress Rosario Dawson, who has starred in such movies as “Rent” and “Sin City,” will headline the Lecture Fund’s first event in mid-September. Gene Robinson, an Episcopalian bishop and the first openly gay figure in the Anglican Church, will speak in November.

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