RSOs balance virtual, in-person events in spring

Students+learn+about+various+RSOs+at+Quad+Day+on+Aug.+26%2C+2018.+The+majority+of+RSOs+have+had+to+move+their+activities+online+since+the+beginning+of+the+COVID-19+pandemic.

Kenyon Edmond

Students learn about various RSOs at Quad Day on Aug. 26, 2018. The majority of RSOs have had to move their activities online since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

By Payal Rathore, Staff Writer

Many in-person events of Registered Student Organizations have shifted online to be compliant with University social distancing policies.  

While performance arts and sports-related RSOs are able to practice in-person with certain restrictions, most academic and pre-professional RSOs have adapted virtual settings for their activities. 

Registered Student Organizations are an important means for students to interact with their peers and form connections across campus. The pandemic, however, has impacted the ability to socialize as many RSOs shift their activities to virtual platforms. 

“A majority of events that we are hosting are virtual, since many of our active members are off campus, and we don’t want anyone missing out on any event,” said Aaron Guo, president of the University’s accounting club. 

The accounting club now invites accounting firms to give virtual presentations. Social events are held via Zoom and include movie and trivia nights.

“Hands-on activities are a bit difficult to plan right now,” Guo said. “However, if we do have an in-person event, we will have to ensure that everyone present gets tested and that there is social distancing in place.”

While sports teams continue to practice, competitions and other related events stand canceled for a majority of close contact sports. 

“We are still able to practice; however, a majority of our competitions were canceled,” said Julia Martz, president of Illini women’s soccer club.

In the fall, different sports clubs were assigned different levels of activity depending on the level of contact and the risk of COVID-19. Sports such as golf continued to compete as they were able to comply; however, close contact sports could not compete.

“We need to get a negative test, and we only take our masks off during water breaks,” Martz said regarding maintaining precautions while practicing. “Though we get to practice, the social aspect is still missing for us since we are friends and like to hang out apart from practice.”

RSO’s for performance arts are facing a similar dilemma due to the lack of audiences and platforms because of the pandemic. There are fewer competitions and performances, with most of them shifting to virtual platforms.

“It is difficult to meet up during the pandemic, but we have been able to rehearse in person three hours a week,” Dillon Maguigad, president of No Comment A Cappella, said. 

The group would typically get three rehearsals (nine hours) per week.

“We did participate in a competition last semester and have had virtual concerts this semester, as well as last semester,” Maguigad said when asked about changes in the group’s performance due to the pandemic. “The virtual events are more like recorded videos and focus more on production editing.” 

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