In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Salisbury University’s club scene faced unpredictable challenges. SU clubs had to find a way to adapt and still be able to meet.
Tricia Smith is the director for Center of Student Involvement and Leadership (CSIL) at SU. Smith saw first-hand all the clubs and organizations struggle at the start of reopening of the school.
Some clubs that faced difficulties include Greek life, SafeRide, dance groups, fitness groups and Squawkappella, the a cappella group on campus. During 2014-2015 school year SafeRide transported a total of 33,425 passengers. In the 2022-2023 school year SafeRide took a total of 11,032 passengers. Smith said some of the main impacts was not being able to meet in person, the heavy restrictions around many clubs and the loss of crucial student leaders.
“Overall, it’s been about leadership,” She said. “When you have really strong leaders, and they all graduate during a time when no one else is coming in or at least physically here on campus and allowed to do a lot of things, it took a hit.”
A club that has took a substantial hit at SU is the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ). With no leadership to run the club, no one has joined this year.
Before COVID-19 the club was dedicated to aspiring journalists who would travel to national conferences in places like Orlando and New Orleans. This was a great opportunity for these students to network, learn and obtain possible internships and careers.
SU Alumni Brooke Reese was the president of the club in her junior and senior year. She was disappointed to hear that there were no leadership roles filled this year. Reese thinks when the shutdown happened, many of the members graduated and no one was left to take on the role.
“Once there’s not really an interest there and then people graduate,” Reese said. “You hear the stories…but it’s not something that people actually remember for themselves. "
"It’s hard when you can’t meet in person and you have to do everything over Zoom, people got lazy during covid, because we were stuck at home.”
One of the fitness clubs that has bounced back for the better is a group called CHAARG. They are a women’s workout group that does all different types of workouts like yoga, cross fit, weigh training, cycling and running.
In the fall of 2020 CHAARG was not originally allowed to meet. CSIL had to fight to get clearance for groups to meet outside with social distancing. Their numbers for the club had plummeted from the years prior. SU student Hannah Lycha is the vice president and oversees all the membership fees and retention of members.
“After COVID-19 getting back into working out, a lot of people were used to being by themselves and they weren’t really looking to get back into clubs,” Lycha said. “Especially fitness where there’s a lot of heavy breathing and mask were required. It definitely put a strain on being a fitness club.
CHAARG has increased by 10 members since last semester and has a total of 65 members this fall.
Looking at student organizations as a whole, CSIL is back and continuing to strive for numbers. “Although most organizations were impacted by covid, in a large way we are back,” Smith said.
“At least when it comes to holding events and the number of clubs and organizations we have."
"We are [at] just around 120 and we have added 14 new clubs in the past year."
By KAYLA DALY
Featured images courtesy of Brooke Reese and Kayla Daly