By Zachary Chen, Feb. 1, 2022
Cal Poly Pomona President Soraya Coley released a statement on Jan. 10 announcing a temporary three-week shift to virtual instruction from Jan. 22 through Feb. 12 suspending all in-person student activities and pushing clubs and organizations to seek alternative ways to remain interactive.
For many clubs, the return to a virtual format provided many familiar obstacles that were faced in the past due to the initial pandemic. However, as clubs begin to come back for the spring semester, safety is the main concern with the return of in-person events.
“We want to see students back on campus hosting their events as safely as possible. Indoor or outdoor, we are here to help all clubs. If you have any questions, let us know. Our goal is to never say no unless it’s an absolute safety hazard,” said Andrea Yeseta, student involvement coordinator at the Office of Student Life and Cultural Centers.
During this three-week move to virtual instruction, all student activities will be offered virtually. Student facilities and resources like the Bronco Student Center, University Library and BRIC will remain open. Events containing 200 or more people will not be allowed until Feb. 28 as per CPP’s Safer Return program.
Despite the return to virtual instruction, Robert Aceret, anthropology student and vice president of Barkada, is optimistic about maintaining a sense of community and keeping members active during this time.
“We’re pushing back and moving a bunch of our in-person events further down in the semester for now,” said Aceret. “We’re also going to be planning a couple mental health workshops to check in on our members and anybody else who wants to slide in to kind of get a feel for how they’re reacting to these three weeks of online instruction. It’s just as important to check on our general members with everything that’s going on.”
During the beginning of each semester, many clubs have had the opportunity to attend the club fair, providing students the opportunity to see the different clubs and organizations throughout the campus, all in one spot. Due to the start of temporary online instruction this semester, the club fair for this semester was moved online and will take place on Feb. 3.
For many, this provides a difficult situation for clubs looking to recruit more members. Bronco Motorsports has been known to bring out its Formula SAE competition cars in the past, drawing many eyes and curious students to the booth.
“When you take a racecar and put it out in the middle of a walkway where people can see it, usually a lot of people are going to stop,” said Nevada Chovan, mechanical engineering student and design lead at Bronco Motorsports. “In a virtual world, there’s none of that there with no one there to see it.”
Due to the familiarity of returning back to an online setting, many clubs like Barkada and Bronco Motorsports were able to fall back to programs they were using in the past, using applications like Discord and Instagram to continue hosting events while keeping in touch with members.
With in-person instruction returning on Feb.12, the Office of Student Life and Cultural Centers is asking all clubs to follow the Safer Return guidelines set out by the university when returning to on-campus events.
Featured image courtesy of Darren Loo.
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