UNO Students Get Involved With Fresh Fest

New students at the University of New Orleans headed to the center of campus at lunchtime today for Fresh Fest, an event designed to introduce freshmen and transfer students to organizations and resources on campus.

The event, replete with sign-up sheets and tables laden with brochures, introduced new students to opportunities for student involvement. The University boasts more than 120 student organizations and everyone has an opportunity to be part of student life, said Dale O'Neill, coordinator of leadership and community service programs. From Greek life to the Student Activities Council to campus political organizations, choices for new students run the gamut.

"We aren't the stereotypes of Greek Life," said Kelly Massicot, vice president of programs for Delta Zeta sorority. "Because UNO is a diferent kind of a community...we are all allowed to be individuals in a group of people who all have the same purpose...And Greek Life in general is something that promotes academia and community services and involvement along with school involvement."

Clad in DZ's signature colors of pink and green, the 21-year-old UNO senior worked to recruit female students for rush, which starts next month.

Chloe Valdary, president of the Allies of Israel has been studying the Arab-Israeli Conflict for two years. She worked on Tuesday to recruit club members and "raise awareness of the accomplishments of Israel," she said. "It's the only liberal democracy in the Middle East. It has women's rights, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, freedom of expression and it has a lot in common with the U.S. and this is why it's the strongest U.S. ally in the Middle East."

Valdary came to Fresh Fest armed with facts to support her cause, presenting information highlighted in a recent report by the U.S. Department of State indicating that "anti-semitism has risen...over the last decade in Latin America, in the Middle East and Europe. And no one is really aware that is going on," she said. Her group is planning a rally downtown and media push in the fall.

Organizations recruiting new members ranged from the UNO Catholic Newman Center and Disciples on Campus to Lafitte's Treasures Dance Team and Amnesty International.

Students came to peruse the opportunities and what else? A free hamburger lunch.