23rd Annual Red River Career Expo
By Payton Williams
From 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. on Feb. 20, The Cameron University Office of Student Development hosted the 23rd annual Red River Career Expo in the Aggie Rec Center.
The event featured presentations from various employers directed toward Cameron Students and other community members seeking employment.
Sixty-one employers set up tables inside the Aggie Rec center for this year’s Red River Career Expo, some coming from as far away as Florida and Arizona.
The event is one of the largest yearly events held and organized by the Office of Student Development in conjunction with the Career Services office.
Career Services Coordinator Paula Merrifield organized much of the fair, and was also responsible for recruiting businesses and employers for participation.
Merrifield said that the number of employers involved in the fair, as well as the distances some of the employers travel to present, depends on a number of factors.
“It really just depends on what the economy is like, or what they happen to be looking for at the time,” Merrifield said.
According to Merrifield, while the number of businesses that present at the expo hasn’t varied much, this year, the event benefitted from an increase in the turnout of interested students and others seeking employment.
“It was pretty equal to last year in terms of employers,” Merrifield said. “We had maybe three less booths or four less booths, but in terms of attendees, we actually doubled our numbers.”
The student Development office doesn’t yet have a full tally of the attendance for the expo, but it’s currently estimated that more than 400 students attended the event over the three hours the event occurred.
While most of the employers at the expo kept their presentations simple, with representatives sitting or standing at tables and answering questions from interested attendees, a few of the employer booths offered larger presentations.
Some booths even featured games and other interactive elements to grab the attention of passers-by.
Some of the presentations that stood out were EZ Go’s colorful prize wheel that attendees could spin for the chance to win gift cards and vouchers for products sold at their stores.
Another presentation that got a lot of attention was the one presented by representatives from the U.S. Army, who had brought a robot used for exploring hostile territory and defusing bombs.
Attendees operated the robot, and were challenged to use it to grab ping pong balls, and place them into an empty ammunition case.
Merrifield was very happy to see that some of the employers offered games, and other methods to engage attendees.
“I think it’s really neat when they do have something interactive at their booth,” Merrifield said. “It helps break the ice with the students, and the students are usually pretty nervous at these events.”
Merrifield also spoke about the impact she hopes the event has on Cameron University and in the Lawton Community.
“We hope that students get jobs, that we’re connecting them,” Merrifield said. “I’m the catalyst that connects the students with the employer, and they do the rest, and hopefully the magic happens. That’s not always the case, but for me, it’s about seeing a student have confidence and develop some more professional skills.”
After the Red River Career Expo, the next big event for the Student Development Office is the Inclusion and Leadership Summit, which will take place on March 27.
For more information on the Red River Career Expo, and for any information on upcoming events and professional development opportunities for students, contact the Office of Student Development at (580) 581-2209.