Pantherpalooza organizations share goals


Jason Howell

The campus community fills the Grand Ballroom as well as the University Ballroom of the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union for the spring Pantherpalooza on Wednesday.

Analicia Haynes, Administration Editor

Registered student organizations set up booths and tables Wednesday night in the University Ballroom and Grand Ballroom of the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union for the spring 2016 Pantherpalooza.


Ranging from Greek life to academic organizations, this year’s Pantherpalooza had over 120 RSOs participating who shared similar goals.

The student government hosted the event as they did in previous years and Courtney Sage, the student vice president for student affairs, said Pantherpalooza has always been a way for students to get involved on campus.

“Fall semester is still better,” Sage said. “When it’s outside between Coleman and Thomas you get a lot of traffic, but it’s also the start of a new year which means a lot of freshmen who want to join different organizations.”

Sage said there were more organizations this year than last year.

“The more organizations the better,” Sage said.

Sage said there was still a lot of traffic even with the limited space, and unlike the fall semester, the spring semester is about trying to get students to expand their interests and explore other clubs and activities.

“The best way to make Eastern feel more like home is to get involved,” Sage said.

Jennifer Folami, a student senator, said if students did not get a chance to find an organization first semester then they get a second chance to find one that fits their schedule.

Folami said Pantherpalooza is a great way for students to look for a place where they belong.

“(The RSOs are) out here and it’s really nice,” Folami said. “It’s a great event.”

Sage said student government did things differently this semester compared to years past.

Sage said this semester’s Pantherpalooza was longer and since it started at an earlier time, more students had the opportunity to stop by and sign up.

Sage said the tables were set up alphabetically which encouraged different RSOs from different ends of the spectrum to mix together.

Cause for Paws, a volunteer organization that helps out local animal shelters, was one of the RSOs who had a table.

It is a newer RSO, established last October.

So far, they have had one fundraiser in the fall 2015 semester for the Coles County Animal Shelter.

Rachael Johnson, secretary for Cause for Paws, said members brought items on the shelter’s wish list, which included blankets, chew toys and other essentials.

“We benefit animal shelters any way we can,” Johnson said. “We want to be one of the places they go to if they need help.”

Johnson said this semester, Cause for Paws wants to put their name out there and have more fundraisers.

About halfway through Pantherpalooza, Cause for Paws had 26 people signed up on their email list.

“People love the idea of helping animals,” Johnson said. “It intrigues people.”

Similar expectations were shared by many other RSOs including Blue Room, a student run and published art publication.

This is Blue Room’s first year as an RSO, and its goal is to have more people join in the spring semester.

Brooke Szwedel, a junior art major, said in years past, they had issues of the magazine printed but were not as involved with the school.

“It was more of an art department thing,” Szwedel said.

Maddie Pearson, a sophomore art major, said freshmen knew about the RSO but did not always join because they were still figuring out what college is all about.

Pearson said as a freshman, she saw the Blue Room as an amazing opportunity.

“(I was like) can I do this?” Pearson said.

Sara Farrar, secretary for the Sociology and Anthropology Club said the club did not have a lot of interested people last semester.

“This year, we hope to attract more people,” Farrar said.

The African Student Association has a lot of events coming up, such as the jerk chicken fundraiser on Jan. 31 and their annual fashion show, as well as many events they are contributing to for African Heritage Month in February.

“We have great surprises for everyone,” Julianne Adegoriolu, a junior kinesiology and sports studies major, said.

Martina Austin, a senior health studies major, said one change ASA made was they no longer have a general body meeting every week.

Instead, they will have a meeting every other week and on their weeks off, they will concentrate on community service.

“I really want to do food drives, because poverty levels are very high around here,” Austin said.

N’Keyah Taylor, president of EIU Line Dancing, said this semester is the club’s first semester to get out and promote themselves.

“So far, so good,” Taylor said. “We got a lot of followers on Instagram today and a lot of sign-ups but we’ll see how it goes tomorrow in our first class.”