Back In Session: How The Return of UMSL’s Students Refreshed Student Organizations
Updated: Oct 11, 2021
By: Gerald Burton, Katie George, Jack McCormick, and Brandon Yn
The COVID-19 pandemic immensely reduced engagement in these organizations and halted their efforts to display their unique passions. It also left a majority of the student body isolated and without groups to align with. Student organization leaders were filled with anxiety and had to patiently wait for their next opportunity to build even stronger bonds with the rest of UMSL’s students. UMSL champions diversity, and its student leaders make an effort to create warm environments for the various cultures on campus.
“We had a lot of online events for the 2020-2021 school year, some of which included students from UMSL’s partner universities in Japan, but we did not manage to reach any new international students on UMSL’s campus due to the fact most study abroad programs were put on hold,” stated Molly Motes, president of
the Japan-America Student Association (JASA).
“While a large portion of our members are students studying Japanese at UMSL or students from Japan, we want to share our love and appreciation of American and Japanese culture with everyone from every country.”
Many students identified the return of in-person events as their most anticipated moment of the fall semester. Student organizations thrive off of the energy created during their events and gatherings. While virtual meetings are better than no meeting at all, in-person gatherings fully enable them to showcase their members’ qualities and talents.
Alyssa King, president of KHAOS, expressed her excitement about her dance group once again being able to perform in front of an audience.
“We are extremely happy to be able to start our group activities again. We’re starting practices for semester dances, which we will perform at our semester showcase on December 10th. We will also be competing in competitions with other universities in the area, in which we will be tabling in October to sell tickets to see.”
Building upon the chemistry created during the virtual period is a key priority for many of the organizations.
Joel Hanns, president of Lingua, stated, “I look forward to meeting a lot of the members we have gained over the past 18 months face-to-face for the first time. I also look forward to having events in person, especially our events like the poetry slam, which goes much better in an open mic setting in the Pilot House than on Zoom.”
The commonality between all student organizations is their passion for embracing anyone despite their differences, and the willingness to create a home for those who were in search of one, especially during the pandemic. One of the pandemic’s more pressing issues was students coping with the lockdown’s isolation. Now, organization leaders are making it a priority to give students a chance to follow their passions and represent their truest selves.
“We really want to make UMSL a fun and inclusive place for all students, so we welcome everyone and hope to encourage people to become involved on campus,” stated Amanda Lopez Cachan, PRIZM president.