That said, it went quite well. The Harvard Activity Fair was a home run -- we got three pages of names, including (in my judgement) between one and two dozen people who are highly interested, an unusually good number. The new Provosts may be green, but they're both smart -- between Elisabeth's organizational acumen and Matt's salesmanship, I'm really getting pretty optimistic about this.
Things started out on the best possible foot. I get there terribly early, before any of the student clubs had shown up yet (having had no idea how long it would take to drive in), and was sitting there in garb, reading. Not two minutes later, a girl came up to me and said, "Hey, is there going to be an SCA table at the Activity Fair? I'm from Pentamere!" At that point, I concluded that the gods were smiling on this endeavor.
Being conspicuous was easy in the early going, because we were practically the only clubs that showed up on time. I was very weirded out when the nominal start time (9am) came and went, and we were staring across scads of empty tables and not many freshmen. It took most of an hour for most of the clubs to show, although by 10:30 the place was a total mob scene.
Matt particularly shone during the Activity Fair: starting from having basically no clue how to sit the table, he paid close attention to me and new_man, picked up bits from our riffs, added his own personal touches, and by halfway through was frankly doing better than I was. I found myself stealing bits back from him: for example, he illustrated quite nicely that introducing yourself and asking the prospective newbie's name is a good way to quickly personalize the conversation.
The relationship between the SCA and HRSFA also struck just the right note. We were sharing a table -- Harvard only gives half of an 8-foot table to each club, and Matt had insisted that the two be next to each other, since their membership overlaps heavily. (The SCA then proceeded to colonize the half-table next door from the Harvard Mac User's Club, which didn't show up.) The two clubs worked together, pointing people at each other's sides of the table and generally keeping up a steady banter, but kept a clear delineation between the organizations: everyone was always clear which table they were working at, and only spoke for that club at that time. That bodes well, since it's a metaphor in small for the likely relationship between the clubs as we move along.
(Reminder to myself: I need to get the full details about the upcoming Fencing class starting this weekend. There were a couple of folks interested in fencing, including one girl who very clearly couldn't wait to get into it -- you didn't even need to look at the gleam in her eye, because she was quite upfront about being fascinated by it. Since the first Duncharloch meeting isn't until after the class starts, we should try and get the proto-fencers information quickly out of band.)
My thanks to everyone who helped: we got a good solid turnout from the Barony, and it was essential to having the impact that we did. Everyone came prepared to burble and bounce, and everyone contributed. Overall, that was as good an activity fair as I've been in, and if we can capitalize on it properly the year should go well.
After a workday afternoon of just barely keeping my eyes open, it was off to Fenmere for their first meeting. That went decently well, with a turnout of around 15-18 people. I talked a great deal about how the SCA works, while Melanie (the Provost) focused on her plans for the borough this year. I'm mildly concerned that she's so strongly focused on on-campus activities -- I think I'm going to have to give a little constant push to try to get folks out into the Barony at large. Her primary topic was which activities she wants to bring to the borough, to a rather stronger degree than I'm comfortable with. We're going to have to gradually work on the underlying assumptions there, but this meeting wasn't the time for that.
But there are a number of interested newbies and a couple of folks with prior SCA background, which is a good start, and some of these folks have clear foci for getting off-campus. There's one girl who is strongly interested in dance practice (anyone willing to help give her a lift?), and a rather passionate crop of proto-fighters, who really, really, really wanted to talk about combat. Hopefully we can leverage that interest into getting some of these folks more involved in the Barony at large.
Tomorrow I'm off to Olin, to help Myndroh with the organizational meeting there. Whee...