It seems difficult to remember when student organizations started to hold events and beef up recruitment outside of academic buildings.
This new way of setting up is not unfamiliar for Badger Cru, which is an interdenominational Christian student organization at UW-Madison.
“We’ve been on East Campus Mall before,” said Ben, a member of Badger Cru. “I think East Campus Mall is a great spot to be able to set up to be able to hit different groups on campus that you might haven’t hit before.”
Students are more aware of the presence of the group once they table outdoor individually than during the student organization fair with hundreds of other student groups.
“We just want to make sure to hit all groups on campus, because some students are more free and are able to do something like student organization fair while others can’t make time for that,” Ben said.
However, making reservations on popular spaces on campus including Library Mall, East Campus Mall, Bascom Hill and Alumni Park are exclusive benefits for registered student organizations at UW-Madison.
“In order to have benefits including being eligible to being at the student org fair, being eligible to reserve space on campus, you have to be an active registered student organization in good standing,” said TJ Sargent, Assistant Director of Organization Advising & Technology at the Center for Leadership and Involvement.
The Center for Leadership and Involvement oversees the registration process.
According to Sargent, student organizations are first required to register annually with the CfLI as a Registered Student Organization in every school year. Once confirmed as active RSOs, groups are able to reserve spaces with Campus Events Services Office.
And once registered as RSOs, student groups can book certain rooms and outdoor spots for free.
“There is no fee for any university spaces as far as those controlled by CESO,” Sargent said. “If student orgs are doing catering or any of that stuff, obviously there’s going to be a cost for food.”
And yet, student organizations have to follow certain constraints on the frequency of space usage and the length of reservations imposed by CESO.
“Campus Event Services Office has some limitations,” Sargent said. “There are also limitations on large spaces so like Varsity Hall over at Union South or Tripp Commons in Memorial Union.”
According to Sargent, registered UW-Madison student organizations are limited to one large space reservation per month, up to four hours per reservation.
This is part of the incentive for Badger Cru tabling outdoor on campus so they can gear up to recruit every potential group member who happens to walk by the stand.
“Obviously at the Student Organization Fair, you get people who are really really interested in a specific organization, and here you get to let tons of different types of people know about your organization, who may not purposely seek it out, but once they learn about, they are like ‘Oh, I think I’d like to be part of this,’” Ben said.
Editor's Note: [Correction: 9/6/2019 12:36 p.m.] The registration process is controlled only by Center for Leadership and Involvement. There are additional policies regarding reservation fees for spaces and the limitations on large space reservation: One time per month, up to four hours each reservation.