Outdoor Alcalá Bazaar Event Has a Spring in its Step


Outdoor Alcalá Bazaar Event Has a Spring in its Step

There were noticeable signs that Tuesday’s spring semester Alcalá Bazaar was different from years past. For the first time, the spring version of the University of San Diego's popular involvement fair took place under a bright, sunny sky at the less-than-a-year-old Paseo de Colachis' large grassy area. There, a likely record number of entrants — 210 organizations, clubs, centers, institutes, academic programs and resources — had tables to promote student awareness, interest and encourage connections.

Alcala Bazaar Sp18

"Fifty-two have signed up so far today," said an enthusiastic Riya Pandit, a sophomore Torero who is president of Pataka, the first-ever Bollywood-influenced dance team at USD. Pataka, which stands for firework, Pandit stated, is so new that there's not a social media platform attached just yet.

"We've spent the last two weeks getting ready for this," said Pandit, a business student, about the Alcalá Bazaar. "Everyone starts out small, but we'll build it up." She said there are already allies on campus eager to support and get involved. On Feb. 18, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the USD Sports Center, Pandit said there will be more to learn about Pataka and that the club welcomes everyone who is interested to join it.

Pataka was one of several first-time Alcalá Bazaar student organizations debuting table representation. Others were Cool Kids Club, Don't Be Board, a Leadership Student Group, Fair Trade Club, Make-A-Wish Club USD, Polyglot Club, Soup Kitchen Club, Speech Pathology Club, STEM Outreach Club, USD Jiu-Jitsu and Combat Sports Club, the Vigor Garden Club and YALLA Sunday Soccer.

Some of the organizations represented at the Bazaar already existed, but may still be unknown to some.

One is USD's Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers. At USD, the IISE chapter serves all Industrial and Systems Engineers, provides guest speakers, workshops, partners with USD's Career Development Center and hosts social events to help students connect, according to current IISE President and USD senior Ciwar El-Tayeh.

Another organization seeking greater awareness is the African Student Union. Two representatives, junior Vayunamu Bawa, ASU's President, and first-year student Maya Matabwa, were all smiles. Nearly 30 people had signed up Tuesday to learn more about the organization. Bawa and Matabwa expressed their interest in having more collaborations on campus to gain more awareness of ASU. In February, which is Black History Month, the ASU is supporting the Black Student Resource Center for an African Diaspora Fest, Feb. 20 from 12:15-2 p.m. at Paseo de Colachis.

As some groups seek to gain familiarity with the campus community, the Alcalá Bazaar is always a chance for veteran organizations — from Greek sororities and fraternities, foreign language clubs, the Women’s Center, University Ministry and military and veteran services — to remind the community about essential resources they have to make the campus a more connected and safer place.

One could also learn about the Campus Assault Resources and Education (C.A.R.E.) program and its supportive efforts to help women and men who've experienced assault or abuse; the USD HOST program, which has established three student food pantries on campus — in the Student Life Pavilion, within the School of Leadership and Education Sciences and in the Barcelona building, Room 301 on the far west end of campus — and can help with emergency housing resources for students in need; and there’s a push for more Transfer Scholastic Assistants to provide support for incoming transfer students as there are information sessions Feb. 13, 15, 20, 21 and 22. Email for more details.

Another way for the Torero community to bond and create some school spirit comes from joining The 81, which is a partnership between USD's Department of Music and USD Athletics to have the largest band that performs at USD sporting events such as the men and women's basketball games in the Jenny Craig Pavilion. Chiara Sutton, a senior horn player and current student leader for The 81, was at the Alcalá Bazaar to answer questions about music department questions, academic opportunities like the Performing Arts Entrepreneurship minor, and about The 81. She said this Saturday's 2 p.m. USD women's basketball home game against Santa Clara would have USD band members joined by a group of local high school band musicians to provide ample musical support and a bonus to the home-court advantage the Toreros will have as they seek a West Coast Conference victory.

In all, the Alcalá Bazaar was a success. Moving the spring event outside on a beautiful San Diego day after many years of utilizing the Hahn University Center Forum rooms was a great decision. Having more space to roam in search of student involvement opportunities and a fun atmosphere gave event organizers reasons to smile.

"Everyone seems happy and you can feel it," said Rama Sabano, a current graduate student in SOLES' higher education leadership master's program and a graduate assistant for involvement with USD’s Student Leadership, Involvement and Changemaking. "We were able to bring people here and keep them here. I'm a big believer in student involvement on campus. Seeing this is why I'm in higher education."

— Ryan T. Blystone 

Photos by Allyson Meyer '16

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