By Rebecca Kranich & Grace Cardinal, Asst. Social Media Editor & Staff Writer
The Manhattan College community welcomed its students back to campus for the second week of classes by hosting the semi-annual club fair on Tuesday, Sept. 6. Over 70 clubs were in attendance, sporting tables full of information, posters, and gift bags intending to draw in new members.
Due to the rain, the fair was moved indoors to Smith Auditorium. The large indoor gathering is one of the first since the college returned in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Quadrangle spoke to members of MC’s clubs at the fair as they prepared for the new year.
Jenna Leonard, co-president of the Manhattan Singers and president of Manhattones, explained how COVID-19 previously affected the performing arts.
“I still feel like we were able to do a decent amount, like when we couldn’t do things in person, we still made online recordings, we were able to work on things that we made videos of to release to the public,” Leonard said. “We did recordings for just us, just to be able to work together as a group. We were still able to do things, but it’s for sure nice to be in front of audiences again and without masks, to be able to sing and really hear each other.”
Dylan Kelman, a member of the Jewish Student Union, commented on how she noticed a positive change in students’ attitudes towards involvement amid the pandemic.
“I think people were definitely more motivated to get more things started with the club, more motivated to actually meet and get things together,” Kelman said. “I feel like it definitely gave us a push.”
Some clubs saw decreased involvement due to virtual meetings and events’ lack of appeal compared to in-person events. Precious Adegoke, the treasurer of the Black Student Union (BSU), said this was a significant struggle.
“We saw less [involvement] because of virtual options because we believe most of them [students] might not really want to check their emails, or do a meeting via zoom,” she said. “They really want human-to-human interaction.”
Adegoke said that for the upcoming semester, BSU hopes to host a wide variety of events such as cookouts, roundtable talks, and collaborations with other organizations on campus.
Andy Ortiz, the graduate assistant for Campus Ministry and Social Action (CMSA), told The Quadrangle that engagement with the local community also faltered during COVID.
“Some people also didn’t want to take part [physically] because they didn’t want to catch COVID, and that’s understandable,” Ortiz said. “But not a lot of organizations offer remote work, but we do have one now that appeals to students who can’t commit to in-person events each week. But overall, a lot of the work is hands-on with food or patient care, and so now we’re trying to reach out to people and get them engaged with community service again.”
Ortiz also explained that CMSA provides opportunities to help students connect with their local communities and enact positive change.
One of the main departments that organized the club fair was the office for student engagement. Megan Marino, the graduate assistant for the office, explained the optimistic hopes for student life on campus.
“Now we’re up and running. We can all be together and create better times. So all these events are going on; we’re really pushing them because we really want people to get more involved,” said Marino.