The University’s Annual Involvement Fair took place this past Friday, Sep. 10, one of the first major, in-person events held on campus since the COVID-19 outbreak during the spring 2020 semester.
Although last fall’s fair was held online, the Center of Student Activities was eager to reinstate the event this year as a live and outdoor program. With COVID-19 vaccines more widely available than ever, in addition to the University’s indoor-mask mandate, the involvement fair is the first of many extracurricular and athletic events to come. However, in the wake of other coronavirus variants, the Monmouth community ponders how the persistent spread of the virus will affect life on campus.
Surgical Club Co-Presidents Lilia Crew and Nico Landino expressed gratitude in returning to campus for academics and extracurriculars, feeling that the University is doing everything in its power to protect the student body. Nonetheless, they did underscore a degree of concern about the unforeseen ramifications of the coronavirus variants. This would be a consistent sentiment among other executive board members of varying clubs.
Briana Matos-Estes and Madeline Blumenkrantz, representatives of the Pre-PT Club, were also appreciative of being on campus since “online school isn’t for everyone.” They were just a few of many students who felt frustrated with the online version of their college experience. Notwithstanding the struggles the Monmouth community has had to endure the past year, students like Landino and Matos-Estes felt safe during the Involvement Fair because it took place outside.
Jake Frontera of the Pre-Dental Club said that, “opportunities to have events outside make a world of a difference.”
Most of the club captains were pleased that the Involvement Fair was in person since it allowed for greater engagement with new students and other clubs.
Nevertheless, the trend of optimism among students was met with some apprehension. One club president stated, “I understand that being in person is important; however, it concerns me to be back with the recent influx of COVID cases across the US.” Another club representative added that he/she feels “that it is only a matter of time before we have to go online again.”
Another executive board member, from a different club, met the two previously stated perspectives half-way.
“While I think the Delta variant poses a legitimate threat to our campus this semester, I think that with stringent following of University approved guidelines, combined with our pre-existing high levels of student and staff vaccinated persons, we should be safe to continue classes and events in person.”
Travis Greenberg, senior anthropology major and President of Monmouth Esports, estimated that nearly 30 new members joined his organization. New members’ interests included Warzone, Smash Bros., Rainbow Six, League of Legends, and Rocket League.
“With more members and more eyes on the club, we can find new college leagues to compete in,” Greenberg said. “[With more members] we can receive funding from the school for things such as an Esports room.”