For returning college students and freshmen new to campus, joining a club or organization to help occupy time or explore interests can be a beneficial experience and aid with a well-rounded education.
Pittsburg State has many different types of organizations including Greek life, professional honor societies, as well as recreational and academic clubs. Some of these recreational and academic clubs include Chemistry Club, the Cow Creek Review, Dance Club, Graphic Arts Club, History Club, Model United Nations (UN), National Association of Women in Construction, Enactus, Biology Club, the Philosophical Society, Pittsburg State ROTC and Sociology Club. Each of these organizations may have individual requirements for membership but the majority of clubs on campus allow any student to join them regardless of their major. Some like Chemistry Club are geared towards specific majors by offering both networking opportunities and advisement from upperclassmen in their respective fields.
Currently, university guidelines dictate that the campus will reopen in full in the fall, although with certain restrictions including a mandated mask policy, social distancing, and adjusted courses. This may affect the way certain organizations conduct business or host events and students should be prepared to monitor the social media of organizations they are interested in joining and organizations should continue to monitor local, state and federal guidelines on hosting events and conducting business.
“As we progress through the summer, events and activities on campus will restart,” Pitt State said in an official update on June 26. “We’ll be able to host the community on our campus with restrictions in place and if health and safety guidelines are followed carefully. The working groups for academics and student life, along with intercollegiate athletics leadership, are considering the status and viability of events and activities for the fall. Events and activities allowed… in the fall must adhere to state-ordered gathering limits and must follow university-required health and safety guidelines established for that purpose.”
According to Pitt State marketing, staff in the office of the Campus Activities Center, have taken special precautions to make sure that campus organizations and events can return with safety in mind.
“We’re trying to help them find a path through how they’ll have some normalcy with their meetings, their activities and their events,” said Eva Sager, Associate Director of the Campus Activities Center.
Sager works with a variety of offices on campus to oversee programming in an equitable and engaging manner for all students. These offices include the office of Student Success under the purview of Heather Eckstein who organized an interest and accessibility survey sent out to students, Gorilla Activities Board under the direction of Program Coordinator Mary Mercer, and the office of Greek Life under the direction of Program Coordinator Anna Stark.
“Fraternity and sorority houses are privately owned, but each house and national organization (has) issued guidelines for extra cleaning and quarantine measures,” Stark said.
The team in the Campus Activities Center is certain that student life will not return to the exact same way it operated before the COVID-19 pandemic began.
“There is a lot of opportunity to innovate,” Mercer said. “With virtual and hybrid engagement, I see there’s potential to reach new audiences, support commuting students and online students, and improve scheduling. This was a chance for us to regroup and start anew.”