On March 2 in the Hemmingson Ballroom, from 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., the Experiential Leadership Institute (ELI) will host a How to Adult Fair.  

The fair came about as a result of ELI’s annual community impact project. Sophomores Lauren Hastert, Julia Durbin, Abigail Shemwell and Dominique Figueroa initially pitched the idea because of shared struggles.

“[We] all connected on the harsh reality of trying to find housing (in the Logan neighborhood) and not being able to,” Figueroa said. 

After struggling to find off-campus housing, they all quickly realized there was a whole slew of “adult” things they had no clue how to tackle: signing leases, paying taxes, building credit, insurance, etc.

“[The goal is to] compile all the resources Gonzaga has for us in one place and learn how to adult” Shemwell said. 

Figueroa said they wanted the fair to have information about standard stuff that we aren’t really getting in the classroom. 

The event will feature 14 different vendors from within and outside of the GU community. Payne West Insurance will be talking about filing insurance claims, All State will have a booth for car insurance, U.S. Bank will teach attendees how to build credit. Additionally, there will be a booth dedicated to voter registration. 

Campus Security & Public Safety will be demonstrating for students how to change tires and safety tips for both online and offline, and the Bulldog Investment Club will be educating students on purchasing stocks. 

Housing and Residence Life as well as Career and Professional Development will also be present at the fair. 

The fair will be set up in trade show fashion, with each vendor having their own booth for students to stop at for a couple of minutes and learn about their area of interest. There will also be large breakout sessions led by U.S. Bank, PayneWest Insurance, Campus Security & Public Safety and ELI mentors of the junior class. 

The junior class ELI mentors will be sharing their experiences about finding off-campus housing in the Logan Neighborhood and offering tips and tricks to attendees. 

"The cool thing about it is it’s entirely put on by students," Durbin said. "We’ve had support from the Payne Center for Leadership Development, but all of the planning has been on us.”

Hastert said that she believes in the event because of this. Having students behind the event assures her that it is tailored to things she knows students struggle with. 

The event has been developed with the needs of fellow Zags in mind. The women shared that they relied heavily on their own experiences as 19-to-20-year-olds trying to figure out "adulting" and are seeking to ease their own anxiety and the anxiety of others through the fair. 

Kirsten Bohlen, of The Payne Center for Leadership Development at GU, has been an integral person in the planning of the event. She helped advise and connect the students with offices on campus that could be helpful for them.  

The fair has been in the works for months. From proposing the idea in August, pitching it to higher-ups at GU, receiving formal funding from the Payne Center for Leadership Development and receiving confirmation in November that the event would happen in the spring. 

Spring semester has arrived, and the ELI members are looking forward to seeing all of their hard work come to fruition.

“I think the craziest thing will just be seeing it in reality” Durbin said. 

The founders are also looking to benefit from the information they have worked so hard to compile. 

“I’m excited to get information myself, and to just see the other students feel an internal sense of relief,” Figueroa said. 

The sophomores also gave credit to ELI for how impactful it has been in their lives.

“I think it’s the leadership club on campus that a lot of people don’t really know about, but it’s been a really awesome Gonzaga experience for me," Durbin said. "I think we  all gained a lot of professional leadership experience and social benefits." 

“Overall I think [the How to Adult Fair] could be seen as just a helping hand, or just a hand to hold for students who have already left the nest” Figueroa said. 

Ginger Monroe is a staff writer.

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