Despite having to change their meetings to Zoom calls, many of NC State’s student clubs and organizations have continued to meet in person this semester during the COVID-19 pandemic with permission from NC State administration.
According to Ben Regester, a second-year studying environmental science and marine science and co-president of the Beekeepers Club, the club moved their biweekly meetings online, but left most other aspects of the club unchanged.
“A normal school year is mostly the same, except our regular biweekly meetings are online now, but we are still having the in-person hive days, so that’s the same,” Regester said. “We do have restrictions for those, where we require people to wear masks and social distance. We also have a liability form that they have to fill out beforehand, but it’s pretty much the same.”
During hive days, members meet at the beehives on the Agroecology farm and do an inspection of the hives for educational purposes. Although they only held one hive day during fall semester, the club has been holding hive days about once a month this semester, Register said.
According to Regester, although NC State administration was not resistant to the club meeting in person, club leadership still had to go through a lengthy approval process.
“[The University] was okay with it, [but] we had to go through a process to get approved and that took awhile, but they were encouraging,” Regester said. “Our meetings are outside as well, so it’s not as big of a deal as other clubs meeting in-person.”
The honors and scholars programs have also been hosting in-person events for students. Ken Johnson, the associate director of the University Scholars Program, said program members have continued to volunteer and attend team-building activities in person, but in reduced numbers.
“Last fall, at the beginning of move-in, following the guidelines of both [the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention], the state and NC State, we did in-person things to try to connect students,” Johnson said. “We offered a walking tour to Pullen and Dorthea Dix. Students were able to do that and go to the outdoor art space.”
According to Johnson, the honors and scholars programs took students to volunteer at food banks and walk around art museums, and they also encouraged students to participate in on-campus activities such as climbing at Carmichael Gymnasium and walking tours around campus.
Regester said clubs are likely to keep some aspects of virtual meetings, even after it is safe to meet in person regularly. According to Regester, the club will likely still host guest speakers virtually in order to easily host speakers who aren’t local.
“We had a speaker last semester from Alberta, Canada, and he gave a really good talk,” Regester said. “I’d say, if we keep anything, it would be not limiting ourselves to guest speakers from Raleigh.”
Johnson also said that the honors and scholars programs will likely continue to host guest speakers virtually even after in-person activities resume.
“Some things from virtual will be used going forward, things that we’ve never thought to do, but because we’ve been forced to do this, I think we’ll keep some aspects of it,” Johnson said. “We had a Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer from London. We could never have brought her in; we would have had to fly her in, and she would have had to be away from her family and kids. It cost less and she was more willing to do it, so we’ll continue to occasionally use virtual.”
More information about clubs and organizations at NC State can be viewed here.