With classes moved to remote instruction because of the Covid-19 pandemic, Indiana University Kokomo’s student organizations are keeping students connected to campus — and each other.
Like classes, club meetings have moved to Zoom and other technology, to continue meeting and hosting virtual events.
Mattie Tom, president of Student Government Association (SGA), believes the connection virtual club meetings provide is crucial to students used to more active social lives.
“Staying connected through clubs is not just important by keeping students involved, it gives us human interaction,” she said. “Getting that interaction for a few moments or an hour each day is important. Campus may be shut down, but student organizations are not.”
As SGA president, Tom met with organization presidents monthly to discuss events. Since the transition to remote learning, they now keep in touch virtually.
Mallory Maris, a graduate assistant working with the Office of Student Life and Campus Diversity, highlights student organizations through the office’s social media, providing another connection to campus.
“It is important that we continue to provide our same support, whether that be on or off campus because we are still here and functioning,” Maris said. “Staying connected is key, and I find our campus as a whole to be representing that.”
Audra Dowling, dean of students, added that some organizations, realizing more people are filling their time on social media, are taking advantage of the chance to promote themselves.
“Student organizations have adapted well to the shutdown,” Dowling said. “While it is difficult, they are using it as a new opportunity to gain new members and stay connected with campus and each other.”
The Latinx Student Association (LSA) is among the groups continuing to gather online, and its president, Gabriela Mora, sees potential for growth during the rest of the semester.
“Since everyone is at home, people are looking for new things to get involved with, and this is the perfect opportunity for them,” she said. “It’s important for every club on campus to stay active and communicate. It creates a sense of normalcy that we need.”
LSA had planned a Cinco de Mayo celebration on campus, but will move it to an online “bring your own taco” party instead. All students are invited to the May 5 festivities, to learn more about Hispanic culture.
While the LSA transitioned its event to make it virtual, other groups postponed events, including the hygiene drive planned by the sociology club. It will now take place during the fall 2020 semester. Madison Lavengood, club chairperson, understands the need for moving to remote learning.
“Since the epidemic is affecting everyone, the club knows it’s for the best,” she said. “We want members of the club and community to stay safe.”
While on-campus meetings and events have been cancelled, student organizations are still looking for new members. Students can email email@example.com or can contact student organizations leaders directly for more information on how to join.
Story by Braden Dunlap. Braden is an intern in the Office of Media and Marketing.
Indiana University Kokomo celebrates 75 years as north central Indiana’s choice for higher education.