Thanks to COVID-19, pretty much every aspect of life on campus has taken a hit; from classes to social lives to work and everything in between, everyone has had to mask up and make room. Student organizations in particular, have seen tremendous changes in the way they’ve had to go about meetings and activities. Student leaders Jordan Gilliam, Aleah Brinn, and Asha Richards have spoken up about the challenges their clubs have faced and how they’ve had to adapt to COVID-19 restrictions.
Gilliam is the current president of Spectrum and the Black Student Union. Spectrum has been able to adapt quite well to the new changes, with members new and old being receptive to the new virtual format. While old members have missed being able to meet and host events in person, they acknowledge that these precautions are best for the safety of all members and the campus community.
“It will be a great chapter in the history of our club. We can say that we stayed together as a club and a group throughout the entire pandemic” said Gilliam. Meanwhile, the Black Student Union has not fared so well, as they have been unable to host many meetings due to many members being off campus. For more information about these organizations, students can check out @_we_are_spectrum and @marlinsbsu on Instagram.
Brinn, leader of Marlin Ministries, has has more luck with gatherings and membership. For starters, meetings have been moved outside or even online as needed, and hand sanitizer and other cleaning products are available for use for in-person meetings, but constantly changing locations has proven challenging.
“It can be so frustrating to have to support each other in a socially distanced manner instead of giving a hug or a high five, but everyone is still trying to support each other regardless, and that’s what’s important,” said Brinn. For more information about Marlin Ministries and the events they host, students can follow @vwumarlinministries on Instagram.
Richards is the President of the Caribbean Student Association which has moved to a hybrid format, meeting in the Blocker auditorium with an option to attend virtually via Google Meets. For more information about the Caribbean Student Association, students can follow @marlins_csa on Instagram.
“A lot of our adaptation has been how we go about meetings,” Richards said. For starters, members seem to be “Zoomed out” according to Richards, so leaders try to make meetings entertaining, occasionally even offering monetary prizes for games, so that students don’t feel like they’re in another class.
Like Brinn, Richards encourages students to reach out and once restrictions are lifted to attend club meetings in person again.
By Will Farkas