Student organizations move online following campus closure

Daisy Garcia Montoya

General body meetings? Cancelled. Conferences? Cancelled. Any other event you had planned for the rest of the semester? Cancelled.

With over 300 student-led organizations, student life on campus took a direct hit when the campus canceled all events for the rest of the year due to the coronavirus outbreak. 

Upon hearing the news that events could no longer take place, many student organization leaders felt upset for seniors who would now be left with less time as an active member.

“My heart really hurt for all of the seniors. I’ve just been thinking about all of them, and some of my best friends, who got their final experiences cut short,” said Ali Brandolino, vice president of UMKC Enactus.

Brandolino says that because Enactus’ mission as an organization is to solve the most good for the upcoming national Enactus competition, they must adapt to online meetings to continue preparing for the competition.

Krithika Selvarajoo, president of Her Campus at UMKC, agreed. 

“I was very upset as I have a good number of seniors who were graduating and have been with us from the very beginning,” said Selvarajoo.

Others felt that the abrupt closure impacted the goals established for the year.

Gloria Mun, co-president of Asian Students in America (A.S.I.A.), says that the closure prevented the organization from establishing a good foundation in its first year.

When asked how much of their normal routines were disrupted, leaders had different answers. 

“My organization and I were in shock,” said Hazem Tariq, president of the Muslim Student Association (MSA). “We didn’t know what was going to happen and how long it would last. Now we are meeting virtually on Zoom to plan our next moves.”

As students feel the impact of social distancing and the disruption to everyday life, student presidents want to remind them that these are measures being done to ensure the overall safety of society.

“I believe it is our duty to be as safe as possible,” said Tariq. “We need to stay safe and indoors these next couple of weeks. I know New York and New Jersey have been hit pretty bad, so we got to do as much as we can now to make sure this does not spread.”

Others remind students to connect and check-in with one another, even if it’s virtually. 

“This is a time where people suffering with mental health issues might feel more isolated,” said Selvarajoo. “As an org leader (or even as a friend), it is important to reach out to people and ask them if they are doing okay.”

As leaders and executive boards work through the unexpected changes to their plans, they hope to keep the organization’s energy strong despite the circumstances.

“People are adapting really quickly to Zoom,” said Brandolino. “We have had high attendance, and it’s really fun to see faces after being cooped up for a few days alone.” 

Tariq & Selvarajoo say that their group chats have been active since classes canceled as well.

“We hope to stay connected with our members through Zoom, GroupMe and our social media platform,” said Julie Jeong, vice president of A.S.I.A. “We are able to help with social distancing by providing a safe space for connecting with others virtually.”

With the closure lasting all semester, student organizations hope to move online and host check-ins, general body meetings and social hangouts on Zoom. A.S.I.A, Enactus, Her Campus at UMKC, MSA, LSU and UMKC College Democrats are among those planning to do so.

For more information on a specific organization’s plans for the rest of the semester, check on Roogroups and organizations’ social media pages.

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