COVID-19 has made it necessary to social distance, but that does not mean students have to give up socializing entirely.
One great way to meet new people and make friends is through campus clubs, groups and organizations.
Mercyhurst has plenty of Recognized Student Clubs and Organizations (RSCOs) and at the beginning of this semester, some of them are setting up shop in front of the Student Union to reach new members in a ‘Meet the RSCOs’ event series.
Ordinarily, Mercyhurst holds an in-person Campus Involvement Fair at the start of each semester during one of the first few weeks of classes. At this event, RSCOs gather and set up displays, with current members and board members available to register interested students and answer any questions one might have.
This year, things look a little different. Not only was there a Virtual Involvement Fair, held via FlipGrid and accessible through the Mercyhurst Hub, but now students have the additional opportunity to interact with RSCOs and their representatives in person while adhering to university social distancing and health protocols.
On Sept. 1, the Multicultural Activities Council, Student Activities Council (MAC/SAC) and Mercyhurst Student Government Senate set up their displays in front of the Student Union, taking advantage of the good weather to reach interested students through a socially-distanced meet-and-greet.
Along with providing information about organization events and membership, members handed out free stickers and other Mercyhurst gear. Junior MAC/SAC programmer, Chloe Sanfratello, discussed the importance of getting involved on campus.
“It gives you a sense of community because it makes you feel more at home,” said Sanfratello. When asked how MAC/SAC has dealt with COVID-19, Sanfratello said that event programmers have to adapt to a new way of thinking, but she is optimistic.
“It’s been a challenge,” Sanfratello said, “I feel like it’s been a benefit too, because people don’t really have much to do now, so they’re more likely to come to the events.”
This trend could hold true for most RSCOs in general, as students seek community and entertainment to relieve the stress of college life.
‘Meet the RSCOs’ continued Sept. 3, as the Council for Exceptional Children and Fashion Council were both present at the Student Union to answer questions and recruit new members. Fashion Council has found ways to build community while complying with social distancing protocols.
“We’re going to talk about different ways to have events,” said Fashion Council secretary, Olivia Gelo.
She added that the first Fashion Council meeting will be held outside with catered food and future meetings may take place online.
The Council for Exceptional Children, a service-oriented club, assists with events like the Special Olympics and Polar Plunge. Unfortunately, due to the size of these functions, many will likely occur online. Even so, club member Nicolette Eddy expressed commitment to the club and its mission.
“We’re all passionate about it, and it helps you develop a deeper caring about working with people,” said Eddy.
The next ‘Meet the RSCOs’ event on Sept. 8 featured the Merciad and Leadership Development Program. Events will be continuing on Tuesdays and Thursdays throughout the semester so more clubs and organizations will be highlighted.
Overall, the event offered a way for RSCOs on campus to connect with interested students in person, starting the year off strong. Though this year looks different, the role of RSCOs remains just as important as ever: to offer Lakers a fun, positive environment in which to make friends and grow socially.