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Ambitious Freshman Signs up for Every Student Org

The Spring 2023 Student Org Fair has come and gone. While the spring fair isn’t as grandiose as its fall counterpart, this didn’t stop first-year student Edwin Callahan from setting a UW-Madison first: signing up for every single registered student organization on campus.

Callahan spent his evening scurrying around the Kohl Center table to table writing down his name and email address on every piece of paper, laptop, and tablet he could find. By the end of the fair, Callahan had signed up for every represented student org there, numbering into a few hundred. However, Callahan didn’t stop there. After the fair, Callahan logged on to the Wisconsin Involvement Network and requested to join the remaining orgs that were not present at the fair. By the end of the night, Callahan had signed up for all 945 registered student organizations.

We had the opportunity to speak to Callahan to learn more about his achievement and his reasoning behind it.

“The main reason I signed up for so many orgs was to invest in myself and my future. Last semester, I skipped out on the org fair and regretted it. After missing it, I kept hearing from my friends how great their orgs were and how much fun they were having. But then the real kicker was some of my friends said their orgs actually helped them in their classes! That was what I really needed. You see, I’m an engineering major and I need a 3.2 GPA to meet progression. Last semester, I didn’t do so hot and now I’m taking 18 credits and need A’s in all of them to meet that requirement. So, if my friend can raise his GPA by a bit with just one org, imagine what my GPA would look like with hundreds!”

Callahan also shared that he had to take out a loan to pay the dues for all the orgs, totalling more than what his out of state tuition is. Sharing his calendar with us, we can see that Callahan starts his day at 4am and between classes and orgs he usually ends around 8 or 9pm, after which he begins studying and homework. Callahan was able to convince his parents to buy him several laptops and monitors in order for him to Zoom into multiple, overlapping meetings.

Callahan said he doesn’t think he’ll regret his decision and looks forward to being an active participant in nearly 1,000 organizations.


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