The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

Virtual Club Fest allows students to find ways to connect during the pandemic

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With nearly everything SSU-related going virtual, it’s become important now more than ever for students to connect with one another and get involved. Many of our Seawolves took advantage of the Virtual Club Fest from March 9-11 in hopes of exploring the various ways to get involved with SSU online and offline.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Sonoma State would allow its various clubs to table on campus in the Seawolf Plaza or hang up posters throughout campus. SSU Student Involvement decided to mimic this idea of “in-person tabling” in a virtual format. The Virtual Club Fest hosted nearly 20 SSU clubs, allowing students looking to get involved to go in and out of Zoom breakout rooms to find out more information about the clubs SSU has to offer.

Jenna Lapuyade, SSU Student Involvement Marketing and Communications intern, said that “going to the Club Fest is beneficial for students who are looking to get involved or make new connections.”

Lapuyade then went on to explain that “The Virtual Club Fest is especially beneficial for first year students who have not had a chance to be on campus or meet anyone yet. Although it is hard to connect virtually, Student Involvement is actively putting on weekend events so students have an opportunity to chat and get to know new peers.”

Students who are already members of clubs found this event to be helpful in the sense that it allowed them to advertise their clubs to those looking to get involved with close to the same effects of tabling in-person.

Lauren Yagi, member of the SSU Cheer and Stunt Club, said “the Virtual Club Fest was the best way to do virtual tabling in order for potential members to see what the clubs are all about.”

Although they liked the opportunity to be a part of the Club Fest, other clubs on Sonoma State’s campus that are more major specific found the Virtual Club Fest to not be as effective as in-person tabling. “We found the Club Fest to be easy to access on the virtual format, but since we have a narrow subject type club, it was tougher to get students interested in the club unless the student is already a pre-nursing or nursing major,” Sonoma State’s Nursing Association Chapter President Katie Raney stated.

Many of Sonoma State’s clubs are still hosting virtual events as a way for students to connect and stay involved during these unprecedented times. The COVID-19 pandemic has allowed clubs to find unique and creative ways to host events virtually.

“Our club has been hosting virtual game nights, painting nights, movie nights, and cooking nights,” German Club’s Madeline Hansen said.

Those involved in clubs used the Virtual Club Fest as a way to show those not involved how important it is to get involved on campus during these virtual times. Hansen has found “club events to be the best way to keep the friendly and exciting campus culture alive during these virtual semesters.” Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, clubs have done their best to provide SSU students with a sense of normalcy during the pandemic.

“The Running Club just started this past year, so it has been amazing to be able to create some kind of normal and a way to be involved with others during these challenging times,” says Rachel Spektor, president of the Running Club.

Being involved on campus is a great way for students to gain valuable leadership skills that they can bring with them into the future and friendships. “My experience in the SSNSA club so far has been enlightening, challenging, and fun. I feel like it has been a great way to learn leadership skills and to push me out of my comfort zone. I’ve found it a good way to expand my social network especially in this tricky virtual environment we now find ourselves in,” Raney said.

SSU clubs remain optimistic that they will continue to serve as a way for students to get involved and feel a sense of connection to the Sonoma State campus, as well as other students.

STAR // Brandon SparksThis year, clubs will be missing out on tabling for club fest due to COVID-19, but Virtual Club Fest is helping students get involved with SSU online.

STAR // Brandon Sparks

This year, clubs will be missing out on tabling for club fest due to COVID-19, but Virtual Club Fest is helping students get involved with SSU online.

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