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Monday, August 21, 2017

Activities & Organizations

Cat’s Back features most organizations in 14-year history


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Accounting junior Joe Blount spars with an opponent at “Cat’s Back,” a semiannual organization fair held at the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center on Thursday. | Justin Cross/The Cougar

On Thursday night, an estimated 15 percent of the University learned how to get involved.

The largest-ever throng of underclassmen poured into the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center amid excited booth attendees, fliers, free swag and booming music for the 14th year of “Cat’s Back.”

“’Cat’s Back’ has become a tradition to where it is the back-to-school party for the entire campus,” said Reuben Cohen, volunteer coordinator for the event. “It gives students a chance to see what type of organizations are on campus so they can get involved. It’s a big involvement fair, a big welcome back to school.”

This year, approximately 6,500 students were expected to attend, which is roughly average over the last couple of iterations of the event. Nonetheless, there are more student groups than ever before.

“This year, we have about 160 groups involved and that’s not including the fee-funded orgs. Rounding up, 170 student organizations are involved,” said Lawrence Daniel, chair of the event. “That’s the most we’ve ever done for ‘Cat’s Back.’”

Groups in attendance ranged from fraternities and sororities to political, religious and identity-based student organizations. Student fee–funded groups like the Student Government Association and social and sports groups.

“Cat’s Back” brings a lot of attention to these organizations, which helps them grow.

“I was not expecting this wonderful turnout,” said Auruba Al-Zibdeh, president of the Students for Justice in Palestine. “We have a couple of new pages of new members who are interested in joining our club.”

In 2010, “Cat’s Back” costed more than $24,000, taken largely from departments and fee-funded student organizations. If the event continues to grow on the scale the event did in Fall 2016, costs will also likely rise.

Some were jarred by the crowds and the newness “Cat’s Back” represents for them. Intensity aside, new students, for the most part, left the venue excited about their new school.

Political science freshman Tatiana Law enjoyed both the “Cat’s Back” and the free swag.

Although UH wasn’t her first choice, she seemed to have gotten swept up in school spirit along with many around her.

As she walked out, Law shouted “Go Coogs!”

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