Vanessa Alvarez

Florida Southern transformed many aspects of campus life to promote the health and safety of students on campus. 

In the FSCares document detailing the Fall 2020 semester, Florida Southern revealed that all clubs and organizations should follow the campus’ COVID requirements, which includes no large gatherings, mandatory masks and social distancing. Though clubs cannot function at full in-person capacity, many organizations are taking to virtual platforms to continue engagement during the unusual semester. 

“Many of our organizations are in contact with CSI on a regular basis looking for advice on how to adapt their events, modify their org operations, ask questions, or even just to bounce ideas off us,” Jackie Inskeep, the Director of Student Involvement, said. “We have a great team of staff members who are always here to provide as much help or guidance as we can.” 

Beyond, one of the religious organizations on campus, is one of many affected by the requirements implemented on campus. Due to internal changes already occurring in the organization, President Mady Lauderman shares that though they anticipated changes, they did not begin planning for the Fall until the beginning of the semester. 

“Beyond looks nothing like we’d ever expected in this season,” Lauderman said. “In years past we’d average 60-90 people attending weekly, with our whole team present and a live service. Now, our service is completely live-streamed. It’s a completely different atmosphere without others to engage with.”

Lauderman reveals the most challenging part of facilitating Beyond events is determining the best way to format live stream that is “worthwhile to watch.” Despite challenges the group is facing, Lauderman believes this time has given their executive team the opportunity to work cohesively to combat these trying times. 

“Having a reliable and fun team makes coming together in this time easy,” Lauderman said. 

Like Beyond, the Association of Campus Entertainment’s President Lucas Blackwell shares that their executive team began planning for the semester with COVID in mind. Blackwell said the organization proceeded with plans for the Fall once FSC’s guidelines were established. 

ACE, along with most organizations, has moved entirely remote, however, still plan on having in-person events. Additionally, ACE will be hosting hybrid events with an online option if the in-person event reaches attendance capacity. 

“We have altered all in-person events on campus to ensure they comply with CSI Student Organization Event Guidelines & Procedures,” Blackwell said. “We adhere to room capacity limits, and now serve food at the end of our events and served via ‘grab and go’ style.” 

Similar to Lauderman, Blackwell admits that aside from the uncertainty of today’s climate, ACE’s leadership team eased the transition into this unfamiliar semester. 

“They are a group of extremely positive, flexible, and hardworking individuals who have been a joy to work with amid the chaos of 2020,” Blackwell said.   

Incorporated in FSCares is a plan designed to safely and proactively move organizations through a series of phases to soon resume fully in-person. These phases will be based on the recommendations of the Center of Disease Control as well as the Florida and Polk County Departments of Health. The phases include virtual, which is currently the status of Student Involvement, Hybrid and Hybrid 2, which lead to in-person events that will occur once requirements are adjusted. 

In the meantime, Inskeep says the Center for Student Involvement is provided all the necessary resources to keep morale up during these challenging and uncertain times. Inskeep mentioned that part of providing resources to clubs on campus includes conducting research on how other schools are facilitating involvement during the pandemic. 

“Our goal is to create as engaging of an environment as we can that is accessible for all of our students; regardless of if they are on campus, commuting, or remote,” said Inskeep. 

Many organizations such as ACE and Beyond are continuing to host virtual meetings via Zoom and other platforms. All the clubs and organizations offered at FSC along with an up-to-date schedule with each organization’s events can be found on Engage.

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