STAC’s clubs adapting to COVID-19

Andrew Dacuba, Reporter

As any student here at St. Thomas Aquinas College knows by now, COVID-19 has impacted every facet of student life in some way. This is especially the case since the school has begun its “Temporary Safety Pause” due to receiving several recent positive COVID test results as well as the number of positive cases growing in Rockland County. With these news, all in-person classes have been moved online, along with the Lougheed Library and Kraus Fitness Center being closed. With all these effects COVID has had on STAC, its many student clubs have not been immune.

Mackenzie Mortensen is the president of the school’s NERD Club, which is dedicated to anything part of “nerd culture,” like video games or comics. She gave some insight as to the decisions clubs had to make this semester to keep everyone safe.

As president, she and the rest of the club’s leaders made the decision to host the club online until further notice. According to official guidelines the school gave her, the club was advised against meeting in-person. For any in-person meetings, attendees would have to socially distance, wear masks, and not use any shared equipment.

Considering the size of the club along with its small meeting area in the Romano Student-Alumni Center, Mortensen stated, “We wouldn’t feel comfortable meeting up as a club, with all of the shared equipment and small space.”

In terms of any future plans the club had for moving to in-person meetings, the club is staying online for the foreseeable future. As safety is the biggest priority, Mortensen said, “We’d love to go back to our usual Thursday night meetings in Romano, however, with how the pandemic is progressing, it doesn’t seem possible.”

Despite the circumstances, the club has made the most of the situation. They use Discord, an instant messaging and voice chatting application where all of its members can join a shared NERD Club group for meetings.

According to Mortensen, “Online meetings have been pretty fun for the club!” She said this because members play online party games every week which allow everyone to get involved. Given the fact that the meetings are online, technical difficulties can be an issue. However, she stated that the club has still had a great turnout thus far.

Overall, COVID-19 has forced everyone on campus to make drastic changes. While they can obviously be a big inconvenience for everyone from the professor of a class to the president of a club, as usual, it seems STAC’s students are making the most of the experience regardless of the challenge.