Keeping up club morale in a time of uncertainty

2020 has been the year of a lot of firsts in almost all aspects of life. Work, academics and social life have changed. Students have had to adjust to many new norms, including changes to their involvement in clubs on campus.

With new restrictions on group gatherings, most clubs are operating online for the time being. For some clubs, this change will not have much of an impact on how meetings and events will run. For others, the lack of in-person gatherings changes club operations completely.

“We will not be operating this semester like we traditionally have,” said Justin Blanchard, vice president of RWU’s Paintball Club. “Since club outings were at the core of paintball, we will no longer be able to bring club members to paintball fields.”

Changes such as these can make students wonder if joining clubs is the right way to go. Paintball Club is not losing hope. The club is confident that it can keep members engaged with all-club emails and potential Zoom meetings.

“We will admit that it will be very difficult to keep members engaged, considering we are a paintball team that cannot play paintball,” Blanchard said. “The best we can do is keep our members up to date so that we can potentially play in the spring, depending on COVID.”

Ballroom Dance Club will also face obstacles this year. Executive board members said the club cannot currently use the dance studios to hold lessons or dance with partners as they normally do. Dancers must dance in their rooms or apartments with minimal space.

“We will also not be able to attend competitions or social dances, which is a huge learning curve for those who rely on these opportunities to improve,” said the club’s executive board in a joint statement. “The new guidelines also threaten our ability to hold our own events, which is where we do the most fundraising throughout the year.”

Despite the new restrictions and limited space for practice, the club still remains hopeful. The executive board plans to continue lessons with a professional instructor over Zoom and use YouTube to post videos of e-board choreographed dances as well as tips and tricks they’ve learned throughout their time in the ballroom. The club will be reaching out to professional dancers to set up interviews, where they can share their ballroom experiences and have a Q-and-A session with club members.

“Hopefully, these opportunities will give our dancers a realistic view of ballroom outside of college and inspire our members to work toward something bigger or even just better themselves as dancers,” the e-board said in its statement.

Without the space for practices and working in the same space, the events that had been planned last semester will be seeing changes. The future is uncertain and clubs will not know when the restrictions will be lifted.

The club has already seen interest from new students this semester, which e-board members hope will help contribute to the club’s growth.

“During this experience, many have looked to the arts for a way of expressing their feelings or just exerting some pent up energy,” the club’s e-board said. “We hope to be the loving community people can take to in such different times.”