Extracurricular Collaborations During the Pandemic
An Exhibit by Victoria Saldana, Oscar Ortega, and Natalia Zuniga, undergraduate students at St. Mary's University
As the entire U.S. finds itself locked in a battle with a pandemic with which there seems to be no end in sight, many people have their own stories of how they have had their lives altered by COVID-19. For some, life has gone on as usual, but others have had to adapt to a radically different style of work. But how do students, specifically students who work on campus or participate in extracurricular activities, adapt to these changes? On the campus of St. Mary's University, a liberal arts college in San Antonio, Texas, many students have had to ask themselves this question, and subsequently adapt to work and socialize in new ways.
The Rattler, a bi-weekly student run newspaper has undergone many changes in the process of getting the publication out. The whole pressweek cycle and interaction between the on staff editors and their writers have had to change due to the unique circumstances presented by the pandemic. The question has become not only what to report on, but how are we all going to collaborate to put the publication together.
Though many members of staff and faculty have found working and teaching more complicated than ever before, the students and faculty working on the Rattler seem to have found a way to manage this, continuing to allow for productivity on the periodical while maintaining practices to ensure the safety of employees, student or otherwise. Aside from following generally accepted guidelines, such as helping employees maintain safe distances while in the office workspaces to minimize potential risk of unwanted or dangerous transmission the Rattler strove to give the student body ways to cope as well.
St. Mary's Drama Department
Similarly, students who have jobs as student assistants to academic departments on campus are also finding themselves in difficult positions, as for some, working remotely is impossible. For those who are in this situation but are able to make it on campus, either by being residents or by living closeby, they are also experiencing how St. Mary's has modified the work environments to prioritize student/employee and faculty safety, even though in-person work is still necessary. One department that naturally has to make concessions is the St. Mary's Drama department.
The Drama Department faces multiple kinds of setbacks, both in the traditional sense of theatre productions being stalled and any future productions being viewed through an almost entirely new lens, and with the technical side of the department, with student workers having their jobs almost completely overhauled as a result of both the lack of a production to work on and for the sake of safety measures taken for their sake and for the sake of faculty. Despite these setbacks, the department refuses to rest on its laurels, and is trying to find ways to continue on around these inconveniences and unexpected complications.
History Department Student Workers
And the Drama Department isn't the only department which is having it's student workers adapt to these new circumstances for their safety. StMU's History Department and their student workers are also adapting to new work, and finding the challenges that come with the new circumstances, such as separation straining collaborative efforts and solely managing their work-schedules and their classwork schedules, incredible.
Despite the gravity of the situation weighing heavily on everyone, meaning that the standard schoolwork can be a challenge, and the ability to work together when students are so far apart remains one that requires considerable focus, everyone is able to pull through, though not without great effort.
St. Mary's Greek Life: Alpha Sigma Tau
St. Mary's has a vibrant Greek Life that has had to adapt during the COVID pandemic. Recruitment, chapter events and all Greek life events have had to move virtual and over zoom. Becoming an initiated member of the Beta Theta Chapter of Alpha Sigma Tau as well as engagement in this sorority looks much different than it did just one year ago. Alpha Sigma Tau's mission is to help women gain the skills they need to be successful whether that is as a productive member of the workforce, a provider for her family, an active member of her community, or all of the above. They want to prepare our members for the issues facing today's women by concentrating on ethical decision making, social skills, leadership skills, and self-awareness. They want to increase understanding of the ever-changing world around us so that each member may take her place in life with true dignity and poise.
Everyone is needing to adapt and reexamine common operations because of COVID-19. The university and its students are no exception, and find themselves having to make serious changes to daily operations. Whether they be members of the arts finding new ways to perform, Student Life figuring out how to bring people together while they are far apart, or university publications learning the best way to work together and produce meaningful content students are striving to continue to be successful and productive amid a pandemic.