Huanqi Deng '12, left, and Cassie Taylor '12 of the Princeton Ballroom Dance Club. Click on image to view a slide show from the Sept. 17 activities fair. (Photos by Tara Thean)

Samantha Miller ’13 remembers being a freshman at the Student Activities Fair just a year ago – or, rather, arriving at the Dillon Gym and turning right back around to return to her dorm room. “I entered and was totally overwhelmed,” she said.

And who can blame her – the Student Activities Fair, held twice a year, hosts hundreds of student groups vying to recruit new members from the freshman class and upperclass students. This year’s fall Student Activities Fair, held Sept. 17, was no different, with flyers, posters, and free food filling Dillon Gym.

Freshmen had different things in mind as they moved through the fair. “I definitely avoid things that I know I’m not talented in, like singing,” Caroline Stone ’14 said. Instead, she is concentrating on activities that “don’t require skill as much as they do interest,” such as dodgeball and community service.

Others focused on avoiding the deluge of flyers thrust at them by enthusiastic upperclassmen. “I’m just picking up what I’m going to keep,” Richard Lee ’14 said. Lee, previously a golfer, wants to try something completely new at Princeton. He is going out for the rugby team, and was headed for the EMT table.

A number of new student groups made appearances at the fair this year, like the recently founded Princeton Mountaineering Club. Started by graduate student Ben Sardi, the club aims to bring mountain climbers on campus together. “There wasn’t anything on campus for climbers – every other school of about Princeton size has a mountaineering club,” Sardi said. The group is building a bouldering wall in Dillon Gym in place of two non-regulation squash courts, and hopes to organize weekly indoor and outdoor climbing trips.

Similarly, the new organization Princeton Smart Woman Securities aims to fill a gapby focusing on personal, real-life finance education for students, said founder and president Anne Lee ’13. “Though we have a finance program at Princeton, it’s not comprehensive,” she said. “We want to give an understanding of what an IRA is, a 401K … to everybody, not just for people who want to do finance.”