Student organizations adjust to COVID-19

FAMU 24 receives a warm welcome from The Caribbean Student Association. Photo courtesy @csa_famu on Instagram

Let’s face it, COVID-19 has restructured the world. People are developing new ways of thinking, creating and connecting. It’s the start of fall semester on The Hill and remote learning has been activated, there are a limited number of students on campus and anticipation about what’s yet to unfold.

As the transition to virtual learning was easier to implement for academics, student organizations had to adjust to this sudden change as well.

Students join clubs on campus to network, get acclimated with the university, relieve stress and enhance their resumes. While in the middle of a pandemic, student leaders are compelled to take a creative approach to welcome students to their club.

Assistant Director of TRIO and advisor of TRIO Student Association, Levia Wiley-Jackson, believes that FAMU is doing a good job with the transition to remote learning considering the short time frame that they had to make it all happen.

Jackson knows that remote learning can create difficulties for students who need a face-to-face learning environment. As a result, Jackson and the TRIO staff are ensuring that they keep track of student’s progress throughout the semester, as well as encouraging them to find healthy outlets, like joining student organizations.

“I think students should join organizations during this time if it’s beneficial for the student,” Jackson said.“Although students are not meeting physically, joining an organization with those who share the same interest can be good.”

Senior Biology Pre-Med student Kobie Black had hopes of joining an organization on campus this semester, but with such a rigorous course load, in addition to everything being online, she is considering her options.

“Honestly, I would very much like to be involved, but it’s too much going on. I think I’m going to sit this semester out and see how Spring semester goes. This is a weird time for everyone,” Black said.

As the pandemic recalibrates student priorities, course curriculums and social norms, clubs on campus are seeing the blessing in disguise.

Jessica Chauvert, President of the Caribbean Student Association, is refusing to let this inconvenience interfere with the club’s agenda.

“CSA has a few events and collaborations up our sleeves but everyone will have to stay on the lookout for that, however, Zoom, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and GroupMe will play a huge role this semester so we can follow all safety regulations and maintain social distancing,” Chauvert said.

FAMU has always encouraged students to get involved on campus. Mainly, so that students can escape their comfort zones. In return, students are presented with lucrative opportunities to expand their horizons and engage with their community. Now that the digital age is changing the social landscape, potential stakeholders can instantly seek organizations that they want to invest in.

Juniors Kiana Green and Rachel Dunn, the secretary and historian of FAMU’s Fishing Club, trust that remote learning is a necessary challenge to get us back to a normalcy. Even though the club’s initial goal for the semester was to build a team to compete in tournaments, they’ve decided to take a different route.

“We are going to use this time to better our fundraising, gain sponsors and bring guest speakers to talk to our members through our Zoom meetings. We want our members to feel like they are still getting something out of the club,” Green and Dunn said.

COVID-19 has caused many restrictions, yet it has created many innovations. Today’s college students are ready to discover flexible approaches to make this auspicious time in their college careers a memorable experience.