‘Showdown’ aimed to strengthen community for clubs, members

Written By Alexander Popichak

photo by Cara McLaughlin
Senior education major and treasurer of the Future Educators of America club Stephanie Galbraith paints her club’s mural during the SAIL Club Showdown mural competition on Monday Jan. 25, 2016 in the West Penn Lobby. 


Students packed the Lawrence Hall multi-purpose room on Wednesday, Jan. 27 for an evening of performances by dancers, martial artists and Point Park’s own improv troupe. The event capped off three days’ worth of club-centric events and competitions organized by the office of Student Activities, Involvement and Leadership (SAIL).

The idea for the “SAIL Showdown” came from an unlikely source.

“The idea actually came from wanting to develop the club community and trying to pinpoint what other types of student communities have great bonds and loyalty and connections between them,” said Kate Shipley, Assistant Coordinator of Student Involvement. “Say what you will about Greek life. Greek life has very strong knit communities between students. I was Greek in college and my boss Brad [Kovalcik] was Greek in college and…from our student experiences, we [feel] a connection with our community that we felt that our students here were lacking.”

Shipley said that the showdown was aimed to build a community between clubs and to make students aware of the active student organizations on campus.

“This is an entire week that’s meant to advertise our clubs, get out there what it is that they (the clubs)do so that they can gain new members and also showcase their talents because I think what’s really important in community building is that we know what each other is good at and that we can congratulate each other and really work with each other on building up that community,” Shipley said in Lawrence Hall Wednesday.

On Monday Jan. 25, clubs created murals which have been hanging in the entryway to the Student Center. Each mural was to provide a visual representation of what the club’s goal is on campus. Students then voted for their favorite mural. 

photo by Cara McLaughlin

On Tuesday Jan. 26, clubs competed in an online and campus-wide scavenger hunt, reporting their findings via social media. Tuesday also brought the ‘Mark a Member’ competition.

“Mark a Member was meant to really get them out there – get them to talk about their club to other people,” Shipley said. “The goal was to gain as many signatures on a blank t-shirt as possible so that they could talk to new people about their club.”

The events wrapped up with closing ceremonies, where checks were presented by United Student Government President (USG) Blaine King to the winning clubs for use within their holding accounts. First, second and third place clubs received $175, $100, and $75, respectively. 

The winners were determined through a point system evaluating participation and performance. Shipley said that the point system was used, but clubs were judged holistically on participation.

Funding for the execution of the event came primarily from the SAIL office, however, USG allocated $5,000 during their Jan. 18 meeting specifically for the event to cover the cost of t-shirts, prizes and other unspecified costs related to the showdown.  

“[USG funding] was used for the Moe’s Bar, which everybody seems to be enjoying. It was used for the photo booth and the DJ. Almost everything you see here was assisted by USG funding, and that funding was pulled directly from the funds that clubs didn’t use last semester,” Shipley said.

This was the inaugural year for the three-day event, and Shipley said she hopes to make it an annual tradition at Point Park. SAIL did have some bumps in executing the festivities, and for at least one event the measure of club performance had to be re-evaluated.

“[SAIL] email[ed] every time there was a schedule change, every time there was a bump or fault,” Megan Law, a junior pre-medical major, said in Lawrence Hall Wednesday. “There was a problem with voting with the murals. People were just throwing in all these votes for clubs and [SAIL] were running out of voting slips, and it was really unfair for people because [the voters] were voting more than once for one person, and so they kind of reformed … it was just more efficient and made the contest more fair. They’re very good about feedback.”

photo by Julian Kovacs
Justina Cincotti, a work study at the Student Activities, Involvement and Leadership (SAIL), and Kate Shipley, the coordinator of student involvement, provided hot cocoa and coffee for students heading to class during SAIL’s Club Showdown on Wednesday, Jan. 27. Students could choose a club to support and get their sticker. Each sticker counted as a point toward the club’s overall score during the three-day competition. 


Law is the founder and current president of the pre-med club, which was awarded first place in the showdown. This is the first year for the club, which has about 30 members. To Law, the victory is not only for her club, but for awareness of her major.

“The pre-professional and pre-medical studies major just started two years ago, so not everyone knows about it, and it kind of brings awareness not only to our club but also that the school is broadening its horizons,” Law said. “It’s awesome to know that we’ve created more awareness of what the school has to offer.”

The continual adjustment with which SAIL approached the execution of the events seems to have paid off. Between 10 and 12 clubs participated in the events, and the closing ceremony was attended by upwards of 200 people throughout the evening. 

“This [closing ceremony] obviously is packed right now – I think [overall this week has had] good attendance,” junior Jess Joseph, the media representative for Impulse, said.

Joseph said Impulse, a campus club and dance troupe, participated throughout the week and was excited to perform as a part of the closing ceremony.

photo by Julie Kooser
Students from dance club hit the dance floor between club presentations at the SAIL Club Showdown Awards Ceremony.


“I like how all the clubs can kind of showcase – that’s what the whole thing is; it’s like a showcase of all the clubs,” Joseph said. “I like how everyone can kind of show little bits of what they do and get other people involved in their club by doing that.”

According to Shipley, that was the point of the whole week – to bring awareness to the active clubs on campus and to build bonds between those clubs. Larger-than-expected attendance at the closing ceremony confirmed for SAIL the viability of the program.

“I’m really, really happy to see how happy the clubs seem to be with this event,” Shipley said. “I figured we’d have pretty good participation, and I figured that it’d be something that clubs wanted to do because the Mocktail Mix-Off in the fall was so successful, but the clubs really blew me away.”

Photo by Julie Kooser
Albert Ho, sophomore criminal justice major, shows off his martial arts moves at the SAIL Club Showdown Awards Ceremony Wednesday Jan. 27, 2016.

photo by Julie Kooser
Decorations of bead necklaces, club-themed pins and SAIL official sunglasses at th SAIL Club Showdown Awards Ceremony Wednesday Jan. 27, 2016.