Comedians, quidditch, and cheerleaders, oh my: Unrecognized organizations seek exposure, new recruits

by Jennifer Dill / Beacon Correspondent • September 11, 2014

Wildly gesticulating comedians, multicolored balloons, and loud music filled the fourth floor of Paramount. Students with huge smiles on their faces passed out fliers, welcoming in flocks of curious onlookers and interested students.

This was Emerson’s first Alternative Organization Fair—open to any groups not recognized by the Student Government Association—held on Sept. 5 in Paramount Studio 7 and attended by around 200 students.

 Sophomore Jess Morse said that the idea for the fair initially came from Michael Mirabella, one of her colleagues in the comedy troupe Police Geese. She said he originally envisioned camping out on Boston Common with other groups to inform people of their work last year.

“The purpose of the Alt Org Fair is to give non-recognized groups a chance to advertise themselves and grow their membership,” said Morse, a visual and media arts major.

Morse began to contact other organizations on campus at the beginning of this semester. Eighteen organizations signed on, and the group was able to secure a location and a time slot to showcase their groups shortly after.

Christina Catucci, a junior visual and media arts major, said she appreciated this new outlet for organizations.

“I went because I really was looking for all the opportunities at school that aren’t so directly advertised,” Catucci said. “It was a refreshing take on exposing new and emerging groups.”

Many of the groups in the Alternative Organization Fair were formed within the past two years, and promoted themselves as friendlier alternatives to their more established counterparts. Police Geese, Morse’s troupe, was created by 2014 graduate Gene Meyer as a home for those who were not accepted into Emerson’s other comedy groups, and had 46 signups at the fair, according to Morse.

“In essence, Police Geese was founded as a haven for rejects,” Morse said, “and the group it has blossomed into is one-of-a-kind.”

Dive In Productions, an introductory theater group, was also key to the fair’s formation.

 “We started Dive In as a way for anyone, regardless of experience, to go out and take a chance and introduce themselves to theatre,” said president Marina Altschiller, a junior visual and media arts major. “We are the chill theatre group.”

Catucci said the fair helped to illuminate a new landscape of organizations at Emerson.

“The number of clubs at Emerson can be overwhelming so I think lots of people simply assumed everything at the org fair was it,” she said. “It was cool to see groups like Dive In, or even Police Geese, that I didn’t know existed to try out.” 

 Also in attendance at the fair were the comedy troupe Derbyn and the Drakefish, Polaris Productions, Emerson College Quidditch, Emerson Jazz Band, Isis Magazine, Anime @ Emerson, Emerson P.R.I.D.E., the Alternative Sports Network, and the Psychology Club.

“I’d definitely say it was a success,” Morse said. “More people than I ever imagined showed up, and it was a lot of fun to be a part of.”