Campus CultureCulture

How clubs and organizations on campus are staying connect amidst COVID-19

Graphic by Maddie Ceglecki.

Clubs on campus are a way for the student body to be involved and to meet people with similar interests. Many Boise State students have found their homes in specific clubs across campus, even as that sense of community has been disrupted by the recent outcomes of COVID-19.

There are currently 234 active clubs on campus ranging from culture, art and language clubs to academics and sports clubs, with many in between.

Since Boise State’s campus closure on March 20, different groups have found ways to stay intact.

The Boise State Photography Club had previously planned a short trip during spring break, but made the decision to cancel. Since the closure of campus, the club has been using Zoom to their advantage.

The photography club’s academic advisor, Shawna Hanel, has come up with a way for club members to still receive ample feedback on their work.

“We’ve been meeting twice a week on Zoom with photo students from CWI [College of Western Idaho] to have themed photo socials.” Hanel said. “Students share and critique each other’s images.”

Religious clubs like Cru, who regularly meet on Wednesday nights, still hold their meetings via Zoom.

The club also has one-on-one and small group meetings throughout the week and are still able to do those on platforms such as Zoom, Google Meet and Facetime. They also use Instagram often to communicate with their members.

Mandy Nilges, Cru’s club president, believes that although the whole situation is unfortunate, there is still an opportunity for their club to reach out to those in need in this difficult time.

“Jesus said the most important things in life are to love God and love your neighbor,” Nilges said. “We’re always trying to do that, and this season provides unique opportunities for that while so many are struggling. Even now, we hope to connect with new students if there’s any way we can help and encourage them.”

Cru made the decision to cancel many of their upcoming events, such as a number of spring break trips, an end of the year BBQ and their annual fundraising event.

Cru has not been the only club forced to cancel a big event. Dancers from the Bronco Dance Club had been preparing to perform in a student-led dance showcase in April.

Roughly 60 Boise State students spent hundreds of hours working towards the Spring Showcase which has been postponed indefinitely.

“There’s pretty much a pause on everything,” said Paige Peterson, the Bronco Dance Club president. “It’s difficult for our dancers to practice on their own and to even have the space to do Zoom rehearsals, so we are at a standstill until fall at this point. Additionally, with [club]elections coming up, it is virtually impossible to hold meetings.”

Peterson hopes to put the show on in the fall, but there are many uncertainties, such as where the dancers will be able to rehearse and which dancers will be back at Boise State in the fall as some of the dancers are graduating this May.

COVID-19 has disrupted campus life in a huge way, but students are still trying their best to stay connected with the things they are passionate about. Technology has allowed groups to keep that connection. It has not the same as being face to face but can be beneficial.

While group members have admitted that virtual meetings have not been able to help everyone in the same way or on the same level, but have still been able to keep them connected.

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