The Ohio University Involvement Fair on Move-In Weekend in late August has been a tradition for OU freshmen for years, and will soon be expanding to include more community organizations.
During an Athens City Council meeting April 22, Makenzie Olaker, assistant director of student organizations for the OU Campus Involvement Center, presented a proposal to expand the Involvement Fair. She said OU currently has more than 530 student organizations, up from 300 organizations five years ago.
“College Green compensates about 280 tables,” Olaker said. “...It can only hold 52% of our student organizations if they were all able to participate. So we’re looking at how we can expand.”
The ordinance that City Council is considering, which was read for the first time Monday evening, would close a portion of East Union Street between College Street and Court Street on Sunday, Aug. 25, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
“We’re looking to utilize Howard Park as well as that closed part of the street,” Olaker said, adding that an estimated 70 to 80 more tables could fit in those combined spaces.
This is the same area of East Union and Howard Park where OU’s International Street Fair has been held the past two years.
“We’ve also been working with (City Planner) Paul Logue a little bit so that we can connect with some more community organizations to allow them to also participate in the fair, so that students can learn about, earlier on, how to get involved with the Athens community,” Olaker said.
“We’re really excited about this initiative and we hope that we can expand this and make it more of a collaborative event with the community,” she told City Council members.
The road closure, though it would occur during move-in weekend for OU students arriving for Fall Semester, shouldn’t have “too much” of an impact on move-in traffic, Olaker said, according to her conversations with Logue. People can still turn off of Union Street onto South Court Street by Whit’s Frozen Custard, and Richland Avenue should be closed during that time for the pedestrian passageway project, if things go according to plan. Consequently, traffic already will be following a detour route up and down West Union Street. South College Street will also remain open further up the road, closer to Washington Street, Olaker said.
When asked about the mobile vendors who pay for parking spaces on that stretch of East Union, Olaker said that she had not considered the vendors but would not want to impede their ability to do business.