How are student organizations functioning during the COVID-19 pandemic?


Shakailah Heard, Correspondent

STATESBORO — The campus community is changing rapidly as we all adapt to a new ‘normal.’ Hundreds of students each year participate in student organizations, but how are they adapting to COVID-19 guidelines?

The office of student activities has come up with guidelines for student organizations to follow. All of the changes can be found in the registered student organization and campus departmental program guidelines.

Listed in the program guidelines are the initial things to consider, basic protocols, an explanation of how the CDC states the risk of COVID-19 spreading at events and how it varies and a list of frequently asked questions. There is also a list of reminders for students to follow when planning and scheduling an event.

Paul Anthony Bradley Jr., assistant director of student activities, said students should use their critical thinking skills when it comes to social distancing and planning on campus events for their organizations.

“They are using the online resources a lot more, they are also being creative in their program because of the format in which a lot of their programs have to be done.” said Bradley. “Something that they may have done in person like a study night, or game night they’re moving it to their online platform such as zoom,”

Bradley said the online resources like House Party, Google hangouts, Google Meet and Zoom have always been available for students to use.

“For large gatherings like the interest meeting, I anticipated a lot of people to come, so I wanted to do it virtually that way everyone was comfortable with coming,” said Kariyah Muhammad, president of F.I.N.E.S.S.E., femininity in a new era securing successful enterprise, an organization at Georgia Southern.

Muhammad said she does plan on doing workshops throughout the semester and depending on the size, some events may be virtual, or held on campus and social distancing will be practiced along with the enforcement of masks.

With the COVID-19 cases rising on campuses, students may wonder if all organizations will be forced to go fully remote.

“We will follow the CDC guidelines, the university guidelines as well and we will share with organizations what we know, what has been shared with us however it won’t necessarily be like we’re forcing them, we’ll be passing the information along for them to process and do what’s best for their organization,” said Bradley.

This year there will be two organization fairs. One this past Wednesday and another one next Wednesday, Sept 9. The fair will be held outside like past years, but the tables will be six feet apart, with tape guidelines showing where to stand.

“I’m a little uncomfortable with it being outside, the office of student activities said the tables will be six feet apart, so that kind of gives me some ease, but at the same time we’re on a college campus so there’s going to be a lot of traffic,” said Muhammad.

The organization leaders working the tables for their organizations are required to wear a mask, according  Bradley.

Events are not the only thing that has changed with organizations. They require less wing points to keep their organization active. The requirements for the Statesboro campus are down to 30 points and for Armstrong, the requirement is 20 points.

All of the sold series workshops are in a virtual format and there are a total of 14 workshops.