COVID-19 impacts student organizations, Student Life

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Amy McNeel, Associate Editor

COVID-19 has had direct effects on campuses nationwide, as schools around the world have cancelled classes and switched to online learning initiatives. Grand Valley State University is no different, as classes are scheduled to be online for at least two weeks. However, COVID-19 is impacting the university in more ways than one, especially when looking at student life and student organizations. 

Along with the cancellation of classes, student organizations are facing meeting and event cancellations and postponed plans. 

“All on campus student organization reservations are being temporarily suspended until further notice from the university,” said Assistant Director of Student Organizations Eric Stevens in an email sent to student organization officers and advisors March 12. “Effective immediately, the Office of Student Life strongly encourages student organizations to cancel, postpone or virtually conduct all off-campus activities, regardless of number of attendees.”

These new regulations have resulted in the suspension of Student Senate general assembly meetings for the rest of the semester, along with the tabling of elections and all major resolutions and discussions.

Additionally, GVSU Greek Life has been contacted regarding chapter and social events, with the university recommending the cancelation of these events.

“This is a public health emergency and Student Life urges chapter leadership to put the health and safety of our community as top priority,” said Associate Director of Student Life Valerie Guzman in an email to chapter presidents and advisors March 12. “The university has received phone calls from parents specifically about fraternity and sorority events that are still planning to occur; this goes against our current recommendation.

“Although important to collegiate experience, fraternity and sorority activities are non-essential given the situation and we would strongly recommend you cancel all events taking place effective immediately through March 29.”

Student Life also recommended that chapters suspend formals or any events that have contracts, along with adjust or eliminate attendance requirements.

Along with the implications surrounding student organizations, Campus Activities Board (CAB) has had to postpone the spring concert, which was scheduled for April 2. The headliner was set to be T-Pain.

“The spring concert will not be held due to events with over 250 people being banned by the state through April 5,” Guzman said. “Student Life and CAB are exploring options to reschedule during homecoming week.”

Along with spring concert, the fate of Commencement is also uncertain. Guzman said the university is currently researching “Commencement options for postponement, virtual and other.”

Those with questions about student organizations or events can contact the Office of Student Life via email or phone, as they plan to remain staffed with full-time employees to provide support.