The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Student organizations adjust to virtual and socially distant events

Irish Dance Club’s past performance in The Perch. PHOTO: MITCHELL SHIELDS ’22/THE HAWK

St. Joe’s health and safety protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19 altered how student clubs and organizations are holding meetings and events this semester. 

Organizations were asked to meet virtually for at least the fall 2020 semester, according to Beth Hagovsky, Ed.D., director of Student Leadership & Activities. 

Jessica Atoo ’21, president of Bridging the Gap (BTG), an organization that aims to celebrate diversity on campus and create a more accepting environment, said the club is holding executive board and general member meetings online, but it’s difficult to engage with members through the computer. 

“It’s challenging to connect with everyone because there’s only so much you can do on Zoom,” Atoo said. “We played Kahoot in one of our last meetings and have been more active on social media to try to connect with everyone, but it’s still hard.”

Stella González ’21, president of the Latino Student Association (LSA), said she felt unprepared to handle the new protocols for clubs. 

“I think for everyone it is just something really new and everyone has to adapt really quickly,” González said. “For me, planning events is pretty difficult, and now I have to keep guidelines in mind, it’s making it a bit harder.”

González said one benefit of meeting virtually is that more students, on and off campus, are able to attend meetings regularly.

“It’s definitely more accessible for students, especially if you forget, or might have found out last minute, because you can just log into the Zoom [call] and join,” González said. 

Organizations are also encouraged to plan outdoor meetings and events, as long as they follow COVID-19 guidelines, which are based on guidelines set by the Philadelphia Department of Health. However, there is no expectation to have a large gathering of people anywhere on campus, according to Hagovsky.  

“Outdoor events must require masks, follow the guidelines for limits of how many people can be at events and be socially distant,” Hagovsky said. “We want there to be no contact or as little contact as possible.”

Maggie Rose Flynn ’22, president of the Irish Dance Club, said the club held practices outside while social distancing and wearing masks.

“We weren’t sure if we would be able to practice outside, so it was a challenge to come up with ways that we can make Irish Dance Club work over Zoom or online,” Flynn said. “Being able to have practices outside with masks on and social distancing has been the best.” 

Other organizations are also taking advantage of outdoor spaces. BTG and LSA are collaborating to host an outdoor movie showing of “Instructions Not Included” on Sept. 30 on Villiger Lawn. 

Atoo said collaborating with other organizations allows BTG to “connect with more people on campus” while the new guidelines are in place.  

Despite outdoor practices working well so far, Flynn said she is nervous that the rest of the semester will be moved online, which would keep the Irish Dance Club from being able to practice in person.

“We’re definitely taking it week by week, keeping up with the [protocols] and trying to keep everybody healthy,” Flynn said. 

Atoo said she would be disappointed if BTG’s events couldn’t be held in person at some point, but she is not worried about the potential transition.

“We’ll just reassess and move our events online if that happens,” Atoo said. “At the end of the day health and safety for everyone is way more important than any event.” 

Olivia Robinson ’22 contributed to this story. 

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Hawk News

Your donation will support the student journalists of St. Joseph's University. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Hawk News

Comments (0)

All The Hawk News Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *