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 

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. 

The Rattler Late Night Pizza Breaks

The news staff enjoys midnight pizza while remaining socially distanced. 

A Student’s Daily Life During a Pandemic

A social media post promoting an article that explores the impact the new style of learning has on students' day-to-day routines 

Meet The Rattler Staff

An Instagram post featuring the Rattler's editors, which gave a new way of introducing the campus community to the staff

Resources and Tips for St. Mary's Students

Center spread of resources and tips for St. Mary's students 

New rules in The Rattler Newsroom

The new newsroom guidelines to maintain proper COVID-19 safety procedures 

St. Mary's Mask Squad

St. Mary's new mask squad promoting campus safety an article published to further spread awareness 

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.

Virtual Black Box: How a University Drama Department Works around COVID

The University Drama Department is changing the way it looks at performance and community engagement as the faculty and students look to the future

Interview with a University Student Worker: How Drama works around COVID

The student workers of the department find their work minimized and constrained as they keep within safety guidelines, but continue pushing through.

How acting changes during the age of COVID

The steps already taken for Drama activities shine a light of hope for productions and the arts at StMU by providing possibilities to continue to perform

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.

Full-Virtual Work in the Middle of a Pandemic

Though online research and work are par for the course, being limited only to online resources and being unable to collaborate directly with co-workers as easily makes the toil seem much greater.

Work Studies Begin Working Remotely for Fall 2020

Professors are aware of the difficulty that comes with working with them and with others when all of you are separated, but encouragement and faith go a long way.

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.

AST Recruitment Video

This is the Alpha Sigma Tau recruitment video that the sorority puts forth to interest potential new members and encourage them to join the Chapter.

Sofia Almanzan Interview AST

Sofia Almanzan is a freshman, political science major from El Paso and went through recruitment this semester to become an initiated member of Alpha Sigma Tau. In this oral history, she describes her experience in Greek life during COVID and how it affected her personally, having come from a border city.

Alpha Sigma Tau Bid Day

Alpha Sigma Tau bid day was held over zoom is and this event is meant to welcome all the new members and help them get to know all the current sisters. The theme for this bid day was "Dreaming of Alpha Sigma Tau" and the zoom event was filled with ice breakers and games!

Alpha Sigma Tau Greek Week Among US

Greek week is a week-long event in which all the sororities and fraternities participate in the events and compete to win the greek week trophy. Most of the events were held online due to covid, and one of them was the popular online multiplayer social deduction game Among Us.

Alpha Sigma Tau new member Jess Calvillo, a sophomore, forensic science major, talks about her experience during the greek week event. "Due to covid changing so much this semester, an activity posed for Greek week was a game of Among Us. I personally love Among Us, so using it to bring everyone in the greek community together was brilliant. Everyone was able to have so much fun and get to know each other by trying to uncover who the imposters were! I got to meet people I have never even talked to before and was able to grow connection in the community!" 

Alpha Sigma Tau Founders Day

Alpha Sigma Tau Founders day is November 4th and is celebrated every year as the day the sorority was founded. This year because of covid it was celebrated over zoom and the chapters Alumnae joined the current sisters to celebrate. 

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.

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