RSOs compete to attract new members with break dancing, fashion

With more than 1,000 organizations on campus all vying for the attention of potential new members with limited free time, Quad Day becomes a battleground of sorts.

Blood and metal armor aside (well, for the most part), student leaders decorate posters, choreograph skits and rest their voices each year in preparation for the University’s annual RSO showdown.

It comes down to strategic planning and enthusiasm, really. Which group can reach the most people? Which is the most colorful or shocking?

Whether an organization has been established on campus for nearly a century or will make its debut this year, Quad Day is very important for any group looking to have a lasting and effective history on campus.

The Philippine Student Association is one of the older RSOs on campus and will celebrate its 93rd anniversary this year.

According to Cheryl DeGuzman, senior in Education and PSA president, the organization celebrates Filipino culture and provides Filipino students on campus networking, academic and social opportunities.

“We’ve done a lot of fun events in the past. One of my favorites is the Rice Bowl, where members of different PSA groups compete in football tournaments,” DeGuzman said. “Another is Battle of the Bamboo, which is a cultural dance competition sponsored by (the University of Illinois at Chicago).”

The group’s preparations for Quad Day begin over the summer, when PSA’s 12 officers go on a retreat to reconnect and plan for the upcoming year.

Quad Day gives current PSA members the opportunity to speak one-on-one with students and

explain what the organization is all about.

“We get pretty excited about the event,” DeGuzman said. “We always try to find a way to ask the students questions and show the ways they can benefit from our group. We also stress that you don’t have to be Filipino to join. We’re just looking for enthusiastic people interested in learning about the culture.”

In addition to many cultural organizations, Quad Day attendees will find performing arts groups captivating students with creative costumes and routines.

Floor Lovers Illinois is a break-dancing organization that performs around the Champaign-Urbana area and hosts two major competitions throughout the year.

During the fall, Floor Lovers partners with the Illini Union for the Schoolyard Brawl, which showcases high school and college “b-boys” as they compete in a two-on-two dance battle.

The organization’s spring event, ILL-Breaks brings teams from throughout the Midwest and judges

from across the world.

On Quad Day, the Floors Lovers can be found jamming to the sounds of DJs in their sister organization, UC Hip-Hop Congress.

Tushar Nagananda, senior in Engineering and president of Floor Lovers, encourages students of any skill level to join the group.

“When I first started, I knew nothing about break dancing,” Nagananda said. “Learning how to break-dance is like learning anything else. If you put the time and effort into it, you’re going to get better.”

Another creative RSO is The Fashion School, a new group debuting at this year’s Quad Day.

Rather than relying on flashy decorations or performances, The Fashion School’s founder, Jessie Whitman, said word of mouth is the best way to promote her group. She plans to use her connections on campus to spread the news and put together events.

The junior in Media is a fashion blogger who has participated in a number of fashion groups on campus and has interned for Bella Mia boutique in Champaign, AKIRA in Chicago and Vanity Fair magazine.

Whitman said her desire to start the club stemmed from a void she saw within the campus community.

“With a lot of the fashion groups I was involved in on campus, there was never much of an education given about the industry,” Whitman said. “I’m not claiming to be an expert, but I’ve had a lot of different opportunities in fashion, and I think I can provide some insight into the business.”

The Fashion School will offer sessions on prominent fashion designers and photographers as well as information on how to get involved in different aspects of the industry from business to public relations to fashion journalism.

These groups will be just several of hundreds looking to find a new crop of eager students to eventually take over the reigns of the organization. The ultimate question for the event is which will win you over?