In the height of the pandemic all social interaction in schools began to change across the country. At Florida A&M University almost all school events were either canceled or made virtual near the end of the 2020 spring semester. Many organizations and clubs were taken aback by the sudden change in their ability to connect with the students on campus.
While the current safety guidelines enacted by the Efferson Student Union and Activities have only become more rigid, some of the executive boards at FAMU’s most creative clubs and organizations have found ways to make a difference amid the continual surge of COVID cases.
In order to maintain the safety of the students on campus, the university’s student activities department has adjusted the current regulations by requesting that clubs and organization host in-person gatherings of no more than 10 people , while being no less than 10 feet apart and requiring that everyone in attendance wear masks. They also required forms of sanitization be available for all events.
Unfortunately, as the year began the rise in cases led to more strict requirements, including the cancellation of all in-person events by the beginning of the 2021 spring semester.
But not even this could stop the determination of its avid student leaders. Many organizations have been able to maintain their presence on campus by making some of their most popular events virtual.
President of SISTUHS Inc., Kyndal Perry, said that they were still able to host their annual service week, this year given the title “The Real SISTUHS of FAMU” by placing all the events in a virtual setting. Their brother organization, Progressive Black Men, also plans to host service events and informational sessions to continue to educate others on what it means to be progressive as an African American.
Vice President of PBM, Charlie Smith, said: “Whether it be though the use of Twitter, Instagram live or Zoom we will use every way possible to make sure we can have a positive progressing impact on the lives of the students at FAMU.”
While some organizations have found solutions to better connect with their audience some of the performing arts organizations have struggled to do so considering their unique situation. Some have found that teaching things that require physical action or music doesn’t quite translate as well through a screen.
Rampage step team’s public relations chair, Jamil Bulger, stays it has been challenging.
“It has been very difficult because no one is used to doing anything without seeing the person so were trying to adjust to everything being virtual,” Bulger said.
Even with these complications the team still plans on hosting a class to help students understand the art of step.
This semester many of FAMU’s organizations plan to get more involved with the students through the course of the next few months and some organizations such as the Women’s Student Union, Big Sister Little Sister and Caribbean Student Association even plan on recruiting new members.
CSA provides something unique to FAMU’s campus while giving students the opportunity to enhance their knowledge of Caribbean culture, said
Arianna Seaman, CSA’s historian.
“CSA is about fostering the academic, social, cultural and intellectual development of Caribbean students and anyone who wants to learn about the Caribbean and be involved in our culture,” Seaman said.
Mentorship is one of the many pillars of FAMU that organizations such as Big Sister Little Sister and SISTUHS Inc. are dedicated to. In order to provide a helping hand to the women on campus, BSLS has created a one-stop-shop within the organization to support and provide for all of their members.
Kaylce Brailsford said: “In our organization we have someone that can benefit you with everything you need, We have a lot of entrepreneurs, chefs and girl that do nails or make-up. You are constantly around Black girl magic.”
The bloom of the spring semester is sure to bring about new seeds of virtual interaction, community service and mentorship thanks to some of Florida A&M’s favorite organizations. Stay tuned on their social media to see what they have in store.