How do you harmonize over Zoom? What happens when the dance floor is your bedroom floor? Incoming freshmen and returning students typically look forward to getting to join campus organizations, but due to the pandemic, student organizations won’t be meeting in person.

City on a Hill Press (CHP) talked to a few student organizations to gain insight into their new experiences as virtual student organizations.

CHP: How do you feel about your club not working in person this year?

Simran Gunsi (CTD): It definitely is a little upsetting. That’s why I really want to focus on fall, trying to find a way to have an online community. In the spring, we had one speaker from and based in Toronto. We would never have been able to reach out to her and have her come if it was in-person, because she was just so far away. 

Melody Rose Leon (Sabrosura): We’re trying to make the best of it. It’s a little difficult to dance and just perform through Zoom, especially since we have partner dances, but we’re just trying to stay positive and think of new ways that we can try to fulfill our mission statement online through social media or web, whatever it may be.

Cole Scott (Formula Slug): I definitely miss our lab space. I miss seeing people in person, interacting with people. It was a bit of a fortunate portion of timing for us because we were starting a new design cycle. But it definitely means that we can’t go in there and really work on things in person.

Clarabel Moes said in an email (CAC): We have been meeting as a leadership group and trying to brainstorm ways to handle this change. There is nothing that can be done online that will even remotely compare to the experience of singing together in person. 

Illustration by Allison Che.

CHP: What are your hopes and expectations for this upcoming school year?

Moes: I hope that our group will be able to produce a remotely filmed and recorded YouTube music video for one of our songs. I think that would be really fun to work on and an effective way to spread our music without spreading COVID-19. It would keep us working on our music and getting creative without exposing anyone. However, it will be challenging, and a massive learning curve for leadership and the entire group.

Leon: I just hope that everybody knows that even if we’re not seeing each other face-to-face, we’re still connected. And a lot of people might think that we’re just a club about dancing, but we’re really about building the community and making sure that we have each other’s back.

Gunsi: I’m really hoping that we’re able to reach freshmen. That’s my one goal just because I can’t imagine being a freshman and not being able to go to club meetings, because that’s really your chance when you get to meet a lot of people.

CHP: How is your daily routine for your club going to change compared to what it was in past years?

Leon: Since social media is one of the biggest ways that people just stay in touch […] we really want to be active and showcase what we would usually do in our general body meetings. So maybe put our educational segments or show a few dance moves on there, so that if they can’t make it to our meetings, or if they want to go back and learn, then it’ll be easier.

Illustration by Allison Che.

Scott: We definitely hope to be able to use this time to do those things that can be done online, but also to strengthen our onboarding and our organizational abilities. And so this will kind of be a test for all of our tools. From using Slack, to keeping up with people, having Zoom meetings. It’ll be a great way to learn how to provide these kinds of opportunities online. Even when we do get back in person, it’ll be good to be able to provide this if someone isn’t able to make the lab or is unable to be there in person.

Illustration by Allison Che.

CHP: What do you hope that future and current club members take from this new experience?

Scott: I hope we can still provide a fulfilling experience, specifically with something that we maybe haven’t been as good at in the past. There’s a bit more focus going on when we are in these meetings on Zoom and I’m hoping we can push the focus towards onboarding new members and making sure they feel included.

Moes: I know that, personally, I will never take the luxury of being able to sing in a group for granted ever again. There is nothing quite like creating beautiful music with people you love and being able to close your eyes and bask in it. I hope that current and future members are able to return to normalcy next year and enjoy the beauty of our music.

Illustration by Allison Che.