Photo via Madeline McClellan.

Campus Clubs See Participation Plunge

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va., – While most classes have moved online and students are still trying to adjust, there is another aspect of campus life that is also adjusting. Clubs and organizations.

I spoke with members of smaller campus organizations, Black Student Union (BSU), Young Democrats Club, and Students for Reproductive Rights. All three people I spoke with have leadership roles in their organizations and have all said they have seen decline in participation.

Photo via @shepherddems Instagram. Nazarok is pictured on the left.

The decline in participation is largely in part to having meetings remotely. Aly Nazarok, president of the Young Democrats club said, “I get the sense that clubs are a social activity for kids and the social activity of Zoom just isn’t as appealing.”

“I think it is also important to factor in mental health in a time like this as students feel more overwhelmed by having classes online. Kids don’t want to take on other tasks and commitments.”

Photo via @su_blackrams Instagram.

Chris Hicks, vice president for BSU, said that the club is facing the same issue and is understanding of the situation students are facing with online courses.

“It’s a bit disheartening but also understandable. Online meetings are hard to host and many don’t have interest in Zoom,” said Hicks.

Photo via @shepherdsfrr Instagram. 

Nora Fraser, president of Students for Reproductive Rights also noted that attendance dipped for their meetings however the group was able to quickly adapt. Fraser said, “We were actively using social media events pre-COVID, so we luckily had a jumpstart on how to manage things virtually.”

Virtual management and marketing seems to quickly be becoming the new normal for these clubs as they are busy brainstorming new ways of exciting members for meetings and events.

Hicks said that BSU has been, “ruminating the idea of making a BSU banner, so we can have a table one day.” He also noted that BSU has their meetings set on RamPulse.

Nazarok has worked closely with the political science department to hang up flyers, send department-wide e-mails and has created social media posts in an effort to recruit new members for the Young Democrats.  

Fraser said that Students for Reproductive Rights has been hosting bi-weekly social media events to, “try to keep the students and community engaged.”

Hicks added, “BSU is a place where people can come in and learn about black culture and issues surrounding the community. It is welcome to all students and those that come can make friends, ask questions in a safe environment, and learn more than they normally would otherwise.”

In Nazarok’s closing statement she said, “This is an election year and there are awesome opportunities available. We have a lot of volunteer activities and will continue working on events centered around issues the club members find important after the election!”

Fraser noted that the Students for Reproductive Rights work directly with Planned Parenthood and opens doors for students in leadership roles and beyond.

“We keep all members informed with current issues involving reproductive health and rights and we host chill, fun events. Our club strives to be diverse and isn’t just for women,” said Fraser

You can find all of these organizations on Instagram. Students for Reproductive Rights can be found @shepherdsfrr. Young Democrats can be found @shepherddems. And the Black Student Union can be found @su_blackrams.

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