When COVID-19 began taking the lives of American citizens in late March, many schools and universities across the country suffered serious repercussions. Pacific University was no different. On top of closing campus facilities prematurely and moving classes for the spring semester online, COVID-19 has drastically affected how Pacific University’s clubs and organizations have conducted their meetings, as well as activities and fundraisers.
With over ten thousand confirmed COVID-19 cases in the United States, Pacific University has adopted the stance of social distancing as a method of keeping the lethal virus at bay until a vaccine is created. Unfortunately, this has brought many drawbacks to the attendance of events at the campus, including club gatherings. Arni Gmeiner, a student and active member of the Outdoor Pursuits Group, has admitted that the organization has slowed down after the pandemic became severe.
In spite of the setbacks that come at the cost of social distancing, many clubs are actively adjusting their rules and policies, both in order to ensure that their organization’s momentum doesn’t stop entirely, and also to continue practicing the activities they love while keeping themselves and other members of their clubs safe as well.
“We have put in place a lot of different policies to make sure that anyone who does come in for rentals or for trips – they are safe, they are protected and all the gear is clean,” said Gmeiner. They also went on to say that even with the new policies in place, the Outdoor Pursuits Club is doing alright. “We still get a pretty steady inflow of rentals and people coming on our trips.”
Shun Wetlesen, the president of the Japan Club, has confirmed that Pacific University is no longer charging its students an activity fee. “As a result all clubs have seen a significant decrease in budget,” Wetlesen said. “Across the board, it seems the pandemic has made people less willing to attend club meetings.”
Wetlesen has stated that the Japan Club now conducts their meetings remotely via Zoom. He says that attendance of the Japan Club is not what it was when they did in person meetings but Wetlesen and the rest of the club refuse to give up. “We are planning more and more different meetings via Zoom that are sure to be fun!” — Max Pennington