Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Albion College has put forth an effort to maintain a lively social atmosphere on campus.
“This semester, campus programming is different because we have the added responsibility of keeping people safe by following COVID-19 guidelines established by the CDC, the State of Michigan, local authorities, and the college itself,” said Kristen Sarniak, assistant director for Greek Life and Student Organizations.
While some events on campus have been able to maintain an in-person format despite new rules and regulations, others have shifted to a virtual or hybrid platform.
Talks, seminars and other events that typically see a larger turnout of attendance, for example, are being held completely online. This approach is accessible to students and staff on campus. The format also allows for a recording of the event to be made accessible to students who were not able to attend.
“I haven’t attended any of the events this year,” said Ray Paige, a senior from Farmington Hills, Mich. “The virtual events take away the fun of being in person.”
One of the biggest annual events on campus is Briton Bash, which, this year, was held virtually through Engage, Albion’s new student organization management platform.
“A virtual Briton Bash was a great opportunity for folks who don’t necessarily feel comfortable in crowds to explore the opportunities for involvement on campus,” said Sarniak. “I try to remember that even though there are new challenges, there are also opportunities to look at what we’re doing in a new and innovative way.”
In-person events, such as movie nights on the quad, have had certain regulations to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. These regulations include an attendance capacity, mask-wearing and social distancing.
“I liked the movie events, but the events need to be advertised more,” said Tim Bullock, a sophomore from Dayton, Ohio. “I did not hear about them until my friends told me.”
A hybrid approach is also used to accommodate students who would prefer attending events in-person or online due to quarantining and comfort level, like the mentalist show that took place on Aug. 20.
Due to the new regulations, especially social distancing, most of the in-person events have taken place outside on the quad where there is room for attendees to spread out.
“Being outside is refreshing,” said Paul Dusabe, a senior from Grand Rapids, Mich. “But during ‘Avengers: Endgame,’ the sprinklers went off, getting students wet.”
The sprinkler incident prompted Dusabe, among other students, to express his concern regarding the near future of events like these. With fall comes colder months, leading students to wonder how the college will make adjustments to social events when being outside is no longer an option.