As the semester gets into full swing, student organizations and clubs at Binghamton University are well into their new-member recruitment campaigns. For students looking to join organizations on campus, one of the most important steps is attending general interest meetings (GIMs).

GIMs are hosted by clubs seeking to spread the word about their organization and attract new members. They not only offer students an opportunity to learn more about a club or organization, but allow attendees to get a taste of the club atmosphere and get to know the people in charge.

The meetings are often geared toward freshmen who are new to campus and all it has to offer.

Erica Vissichelli, an undeclared freshman who has attended a few GIMs so far, said she thinks GIMs are important because they help students decide if they want to stick with the club.

“They’re [important] because it’s the only way to find out if you’re going to match up with a club well and see if you’re truly interested or not,” Vissichelli said.

Aaron Tabibzadeh, president of BU’s Meditation Club and a senior majoring in integrative neuroscience, said GIMs can be defining moments for students.

“First impressions last, and it starts at the GIM,” Tabibzadeh said. “The GIM is the single greatest factor to give students an idea of whether they are ready to not just join a club, but a community.”

Tabibzadeh said GIMs are an effective way to expose attendees to like-minded individuals who share a common interest. He said he thinks GIMs serve as starting points for building a community.

“When I attended the Meditation Club GIM three years ago as a freshman, it was completely different,” Tabibzadeh said. “It was much smaller, much calmer and just about meditation, as opposed to now, where it’s a movement — a community of people that look out for one another.”

Many clubs use B-Line to advertise their GIMs. In order to schedule a B-Line calendar event, students must be a part of an executive board of a Student Association-chartered organization and register the event via the B-Engaged website, Binghamton University’s online source of information for all University-recognized groups.

Danielle DiVanna, the secretary of the Pre-Dental Association and a senior majoring in biology, opted not to post her organization’s GIM on the B-Line calendar, but said she utilized social media and flyers. DiVanna’s efforts led to a 60-person turnout at her GIM.

“We have a Facebook and Instagram page and posted a flyer on both of those and posted flyers around campus,” DiVanna said. “We didn’t get to send a B-Line calendar email this time, but it’s something we’ll want to implement in the future.”

Mekenna Tallman, an undeclared freshman, said that while she is enjoying going to GIMs, she wishes the times of the meetings were more spread out.

“I just wish they communicated with each other because a lot of them overlap and it’s hard to make it to one from another,” Tallman said.

GIM season, marked by sheets of Nirchi’s pizza and long email-address lists, will continue throughout the month and return at the start of the spring semester.