Student orgs shift to virtual operations

The SOVO fair is generally held in the street between the Academic Learning Commons and Cabell Library, but this semester it will remain empty since the SOVO fair was held virtually. CT file photo

Sanjana Ravulapalli, Contributing Writer

Tables, signs and business cards usually line Floyd Avenue during the SOVO fair, as hundreds of student organizations recruit for the semester, but this year, the event was shifted online. With low attendance and a smaller audience, some clubs have turned to social media to recruit.

Senior homeland security major Nadya Syazsa, the vice president of the badminton club, said the club plans on conducting in-person meetings but will limit the number of people who can attend to 12 at a time. Tournaments and travel will not be conducted this semester; the club will only have practice.

“Rec Sports said only 12 members at a time which is really difficult to do because our club is considered one of the biggest indoor sports clubs and we have over 60 members. But I don’t think all 60 are going to be active this semester,” Syazsa said. “We’re also only allowed to play singles, not doubles.”

Syazsa mentioned that the badminton club has been doing most of their recruitment by posting recruitment ads on its Instagram and Facebook pages. The club recently launched a website for the club, aiming to generate new-student interest in joining the club.

“We mainly use social media a lot to engage with newer members especially and older members so that we know how many will come back and become active,” Syazsa said. “But we have some new rising freshmen or transfer students who have been reaching out to us.”

Syazsa mentions that safety is very important, considering their meetings will be held in person and indoors. Students will be required to wear masks while playing, and are required to sign waivers prior to joining the club. 

“We talked about maybe buying a thermometer, like one of the thermometer guns, just in case. Because when I do go to the gym, all they do is, like, ask these questions,” Syazsa said. “They don’t actually like, check your temperature, which is kind of worrying.”

Sophomore electrical engineering major Radiah Zaman is part of a sorority for engineering-related majors, Phi Sigma Rho. The sorority will operate completely online for the fall semester, which has been difficult for the group. Zaman said they are still figuring out how to engage current members and recruit new members. 

“We are actually still thinking about what to do with recruitment, we have some ideas for like Netflix parties and stuff,” Zaman said. “It’s difficult because we don’t get to have one-on-one contact and conversation with each other, but we’re trying to make things work.”

Zaman said the virtual SOVO fair was not very effective in recruiting new members.

“We tried the virtual SOVO fair, but no one really showed up to it,” Zaman said. “I don’t think a lot of people knew about it.” 

The sorority would generally recruit members by going into engineering classes and introducing themselves, but Zaman said they will try asking engineering professors to email students about joining their organization.

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