Rita Offutt, Editor
The COVID-19 pandemic has influenced life at La Salle in many ways, such as continued mask-wearing and social distancing. While these measures are critical in order for La Salle to remain safe and healthy, student organizations have suffered tremendously during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially as they try to recruit new members and build a sense of community on campus. However, as the semester has progressed, there has been an increase in the number of student-led programs taking place on campus, spanning organizations such as The Masque (who held a Meet the Masque event on Sept. 15) and Alpha Sigma Tau (who held an anti-hazing event on Sept. 28). Student leaders who are interested in hosting activities or meetings on campus are encouraged to contact the Campus Activities Center (CAC) for review of their event proposal.
The first step in the process is filling out an Information Request Form (IRF). Students can complete this form virtually or visit the CAC on the third floor of the Union to fill out a paper copy. The IRF will connect students with CAC staff for more information about hosting on-campus events. The IRF is also helpful for student org leaders who have not already received information on programming; protocols for holding events on campus were emailed to every known student org president. If a president of a student organization has not received programming information, it is because the CAC does not have their contact information. Leaders with questions or concerns are strongly encouraged to reach out to Mina Koller (email@example.com) or Chris Kazmierczak (firstname.lastname@example.org).
After completing the IRF, students can make room reservations for their event. In order to do so, they need to access the Event Management System (EMS) or contact Kyra Spoto (email@example.com). In order to use the EMS, students need to create an account through the La Salle portal. Spoto, the Director of Union Services, can independently facilitate the reservation process or assist with EMS as needed.
There are two primary considerations for student-led events: the number of people and the presence of food. If a program will have more than 50 people in attendance or will offer food, the event needs to be reviewed by the CAC and La Salle’s COVID-19 Response Team. Student organizations who are interested in holding large events or having food at their events need to contact the CAC before reserving space. The event will be reviewed by CAC staff and they will contact the COVID-19 response team on behalf of the student org. Aside from the primary considerations, student leaders may also want to consider the size of the space they will need for appropriate social distancing and whether a university staff or faculty member should be in attendance. Currently, student organizations are not permitted to have guests from outside the La Salle community, but specific requests will be reviewed on an individual basis.
Finally, once an event has been approved and a space has been reserved, student organizations are responsible for utilizing Presence to track attendance. Presence, a campus engagement platform, is available to every student organization for keeping track of membership, events and attendance. For contact tracing purposes, a full list of event attendees must be uploaded within 12 hours of the conclusion of any event on campus. More information about Presence or EMS will be made available to student leaders who complete an IRF.
Koller and Kazmierczak, who serve the La Salle community as the Assistant Director of Campus Programming and the Director of Campus Life, respectively, understand that programming has extra layers and additional complications now because of public health. Both empathize with the difficulty student organizations are facing and want students to know the CAC is trying to make it as easy as possible for student orgs to get back on their feet. Koller strongly encourages students to ask questions if they need help with programming, saying, “Don’t stop yourself from asking questions. Don’t stop yourself from looking for ways to make your college experience better and more fulfilling…part of the college experience is learning how to navigate the world…[the CAC staff] are here to help guide that experience and provide resources for that experience.” CAC staff, resident assistants, commuter connectors, professors, and student workers are all resources who are able to assist student organizations and student leaders as needed.
Attached is a copy of the current COVID-19 Student Organization Reservations Protocols. These guidelines are subject to change based on community, state, or national regulations. Additionally, a visual representation of programming procedures has been provided. Student leaders and event planners are invited to reference the protocols and flowchart below as needed.