Student clubs plan to meet online, hold virtual events


Summer Cox

Active Minds, a student club, meets off campus last semester for a trip to Kinder Farm Park in Millersville.

Audrey Wais, Editor-in-Chief

The officers of student clubs said in January they are planning virtual meetings and events and are making the best of another semester online.  

Student Government Association President Ryan Kim estimated 30 of the college’s approximately 100 student clubs will be active this semester.  

In an informal poll of student club presidents by Campus Current, 21 confirmed they will hold events or meetings over the coming months. 

“It’s hard to run clubs online and especially [for clubs with hands-on activities] like … Culinary Club or Adventure Club, it’s even harder,” Kim said. 

Still, club presidents told Campus Current they expect to hold a range of virtual events this semester, involving everything from guest speakers to a drag show to a kitchen and bath expo. 

Fourth-year transfer studies student Jonathon Boyer, president of Experience Apostolic Ministries, said his club will co-host Zoom meetings with Christian clubs from nearby colleges. 

Likewise, the Earth Sciences, Astronomy and Chemistry clubs have joined forces to co-host meetings this semester, while the E-Club plans to hold its regular Big Idea pitch for student entrepreneurs. 

The Legal Studies Club is arranging monthly Let’s Talk Law events—open to all—to discuss current legal issues. 

AACC’s student literary magazine, Amaranth, is on schedule to publish its annual journal in the spring.  

And Campus Current, AACC’s student newspaper, is publishing daily stories on its digital edition and sending out a newsletter every Friday. 

Club presidents said they enjoy leading, even if it has to be virtually.  

“You can explore more things being in a club rather than just focusing on your studies or staying quarantined in the house and getting bored,” third-year nursing student and Campus Activities Board President Duaa Ahsan said. “So it’s an activity you should participate in.” 

Yen Truong, president of the AACC chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, said the other members of her group make leading worthwhile.  

“I really enjoy [being president now] because I have a lot of reliable members,” Truong explained.  

Caitlin Silver, AACC’s basic needs coordinator and the SGA’s adviser, said clubs did well last semester. 

“Given the circumstances, I think our students just rallied,” said Silver, who is part of the staff of the Office of Student Engagement. “Seeing students have this desire to still gather and stick to their club missions and host programs, I think that’s the most that we could have asked from them.” 

Student Engagement Director Amberdawn Cheatham said the clubs’ faculty advisers also are adapting to the virtual club environment.  

“I would have to say that we have some clubs that have some very strong faculty advisers,” she said. “The faculty have really stepped in during this time to really assist clubs with being able to carry out their mission and stick to their goals.” 

Still, the pandemic has changed some rules for student clubs. 

For example, Silver said, the college will not allow clubs to meet on AACC’s campuses or use club money to pay for off-campus events. 

First-year biology student and Music Club President Supriya Jones said those restrictions make it a challenge to keep clubs active. 

“For my club, it was definitely challenging [last semester], just not being able to see each other face to face,” Jones said. “But we are starting to adapt.” 

While more than half of the college’s student clubs have temporarily shut down while the campuses are closed, others met virtually or in-person off campus last semester. 

Going into a second full virtual semester, Truong said she is hoping to come up with creative online activities and new ways to engage club members. 

“There’s a lot of disadvantages online,” said Truong, a third-year accounting student. 

“Communication between the members [is a lot harder]. So we’re trying different methods to make more connections between members.”