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Involvement Fair Draws More Than 2,000

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Arkansas Tech University students met Russellville and the community met Arkansas Tech students in a big way on Monday night.

More than 2,000 people turned out for the Arkansas Tech Involvement Fair, which was organized by the Tech Office of Student Services and held on the plaza between Hindsman Tower and Baswell Techionery.

More than 70 student organizations and more than 30 community businesses were represented at the event.

Similar events have been held in past years, but this marked the first time that businesses were invited to participate.

"We are really excited about the businesses that came forth to be a part of this," said Kevin Solomon, associate dean for campus life at Arkansas Tech. "We felt like it could be a good thing. Our students turned out and really enjoyed themselves. It definitely exceeded our expectations. It's great for our freshmen to have this opportunity to see what's out there in the community, and it's great for the businesses to meet these students who will spend the next four years of their life here."

Ron Jackson, chairman and chief executive officer of Simmons First Bank of Russellville, was among the representatives of the business community on hand for the Involvement Fair.

"It's a great event not only for the community, but also for the students," said Jackson. "They mean so much to our community. It's invaluable for the business community to get our names and faces in front of these students. Many of them are freshmen, and we get the opportunity to welcome them to Russellville and tell them that we are there to help them through the process. I think that means a lot to them."

Involvement Fair was part of a week-long series of 2012 Welcome Week events at Arkansas Tech. Classes for the fall 2012 semester begin on Wednesday.

"This is fantastic...I can remember going to the organization fair when I was a freshman, and I was completely lost," said senior Wallace Mullins of Russellville, 2012-13 president of the Arkansas Tech Student Government Association. "We have grown this event by leaps and bounds since then. All of the student organizations coming out like this is phenomenal, and having local businesses represent themselves here is great."

Click here to access a complete 2012 Welcome Week schedule.