Virtual Operations

University Clubs Explain Virtual Operations as Cases Rise

University clubs and organizations will function virtually through Tuesday, Oct. 20 as part of a series of measures enacted to increase safety and mitigate virus spread in the campus community, Leahy announced via an email update on Friday, Oct. 2.

Leahy implemented the operational changes on Tuesday, Sept. 29, but the timeline for virtual meetings was extended by a week in response to an increase in confirmed cases and students in quarantine, over the course of the week.

In Tuesday’s email, Leahy wrote, “It is imperative that our students take needed precautions in their social interactions both on and off campus to prevent the spread of this virus.”

Many campus organizations have plans in motion to conduct tasks virtually and recognize the added safety measures as necessary.

Brittany Macaluso, Co-President of the Social Work Society, believes that the precautions in place are absolutely warranted, and present the Social Work Society with a unique opportunity to extend their reach.

Each year, Social Work Society hosts an annual teach-in with the aim of gathering the larger Monmouth community to discuss a current social issue. This year, the event will be held virtually, through zoom, providing club members the chance to gain technical skills and connect with social work departments across the country, Macaluso explained. “There will even be a professor attending from Hawaii,” she said.

Similarly, Tameah Young, Treasurer of Monmouth Gamers United, does not think the new procedures are too difficult to accommodate. “The transition has been pretty easy for us since we can do virtual games like Minecraft,” she said.

To communicate, members utilize an application called Discord where they can join a server and use a voice channel to talk. “A lot of the gamers are introverted, and meeting this way allows people to be less shy,” Young said. “However, poor connection can be an issue and causes members to get kicked out of the server, or people talk over each other and some feel ignored.”

Christopher Chen, President of the Dungeons and Dragons Club, believes that Leahy made the right call to reduce the possibility of virus spread, but managing clubs solely online is challenging. “Dungeons and Dragons is a mix of mind theater and physical props, now we have to translate the physical aspect through a difference medium,” he said.

Nick Mitterando, President of Sigma Tau Gamma, explained that the fraternity is strictly following all of Leahy’s orders as they are in the “best interest” of the entire school, as well as local orders. “Obviously with COVID and the updated procedures it is hard for us to operate as normal,” he said.

“One of our more difficult tasks is keeping brothers involved and active while still staying safe. We are continuing to work through this issue and are confident that we are keeping brothers safe as well as keeping the social aspect of our frat alive,” Mitterando added.

Mitterando is not alone in finding it difficult to establish a sense of community through exclusively online activities. Young remarked, “I miss the group setting and being able to interact with everyone. It was a lot more fun and felt like more of a community.”

Social Work Society is also trying to come up with ways to retain a sense of community through zoom, especially ways to engage freshman, Macaluso explained. “I think these guidelines are presenting challenges for every organization on campus.”

“It’s a very difficult time to be running a fraternity because of the deep social aspect, but we will continue to follow [the orders] and stay safe moving forward,” Mitternado said.

PHOTO COURTESY of Anthony DePrimo