As the spring 2020 semester came to a complete halt, campus life was suspended for an undetermined amount of time. Groups, clubs and activities stopped along with in-person instruction, leaving the leaders of these organizations to become resilient in maintaining their organizations. For the fall 2020 semester, campus life will not return to its previous state, but clubs and organizations are working on adapting to a virtual environment.
SDSU Advertising Club
San Diego State University’s Advertising Club has been an active organization since 1911.
President Cassidy Gonzalez took the lead in the club during the spring 2019 semester, after taking the fall 2019 semester off, she felt as if the club was ready to start up again for spring 2020.
“We built our executive board, we were ready to start the club,” she said.
After three physical meetings, the club had to stop operations due to COVID-19. Gonzalez had to move back home to Hawaii, and with the organization just beginning, it was difficult to keep moving forward with the club.
For the fall, Gonzalez’s approach is what she calls a “social listening” plan. This means a remote approach to communication, while simultaneously building a sense of community within the club itself.
“We’re trying to consider new modes of communication that would best fit our members’ needs,” Gonzalez said. “I want to be able to provide members with content that can be digested asynchronously.”
Although most of the interactions will be virtual, included would be a bi-weekly lesson plan and outreach and engagement through Instagram and email. Gonzalez would like to encourage speakers and to bring focus groups back to the group, however, she said that it’s difficult given the circumstances of the semester.
Advertising Club’s focus is still clear.
“It’s a student organization that aims to educate students about marketing and advertising as a field and to bring more value to the profession,” Gonzalez said.
“COVID-19 provides a unique opportunity for us as a community to come together to solve issues as a whole,” wrote Vice President Kyle Akcatel, in a direct message.
Ad Club is open to all students and majors, all that’s needed is to reach out to their Instagram (@sdsuadclub) and join their GroupMe. Membership costs about $20 per semester, and that helps cover operational costs for the semester and a custom member-designed t-shirt.
SDSU Photography Club
SDSU’s Photography Club is a new organization to campus. Last semester, the club started, but only had about 3 meetings.
“I feel like we had a lot of energy from all the people that came, it was really fun,” President Angie Nguyen said.
Before quarantine began the club hosted breakout photography sessions around campus, studio sessions at a member’s apartment and a photography trip to Old Town San Diego. The club kept communicated through Instagram last semester but stopped most of the group’s activities during the shutdown.
This semester, they’re working remotely through GroupMe, FaceTime, Zoom and on their Instagram page.
“We have a big GroupMe, all of our members are in that, and that’s how we communicate,” Vice President Morgan Hohenester said. “That’s how we’re going to be sending updates on what we’re going to be doing in terms of transitioning this semester.”
One of the activities planned for the semester is a series of photo challenges facilitated through the club’s Instagram. Nguyen said the photo challenges, a new website and plans for a shared Google Drive will help members stay connected and provide them a space to showcase their work.
“People are still able to show their creativity, use their free time to take photos and to come back as a community and share them with each other,” Hohenester said.
Anyone is welcome to join and no photography experience is required.
“We’re always looking for new ideas for members to stay connected with us and new ideas on how we can keep everyone interested,” Nguyen said. “The main idea of the club was to create a community. I think that community is needed now more than ever, so we’re just going to push that community that (members) feel safe in and that they want to grow in.”
For more information on the SDSU Photography Club, follow them on Instagram @sdsuphotographyclub.
Movimiento Estudiantil Chicanx de Aztlán, otherwise known as MEChA, is a student activist organization on campus that promotes higher education, political consciousness and aims at fostering a sense of community.
MEChA has maintained a presence at SDSU for 50 years and was created during the Chicano and Civil Rights Movement of the ’60s and ’70s. Today, like many other student-run organizations on campus, they have adapted to an online platform and are working to keep up operations as usual.
Currently, there are no official leadership positions filled in MEChA. As former Vice President Iridian Vazquez explained, COVID-19 interrupted their yearly elections.
“When school went virtual, that was before we could have our nominations, elections, and our transition dinner,” she said.
Although official positions of leadership have not been ironed out, a temporary delegation of responsibilities among various members was established in the meantime.
While there are still meetings being held, Vazquez said MEChA’s primary community outreach has to come to a halt. Their main priority at the moment is holding weekly meetings and remaining in contact.
Holding meetings on Zoom and getting members involved virtually has been challenging, Vasquez said.
“It’s hard to reach out, everyone is with their families so it’s harder to dedicate the same amount of time,” she said.
Prior to the pandemic, MEChA was heavily involved in afterschool and outreach programs, but Vazquez said there is still active communication between the organization and teachers to continue outreach in the future.
“We have close connections to the high school teachers,” she said. “We have their emails and we still contact them about students planning to go to SDSU.”
Even with complications, Vazquez says that they still have a lot of freshmen interested in joining.
Vazquez made it clear that the principles and objectives of MEChA remain the same, even in the face of the pandemic. Vasquez said MEChA is meant to, “provide resources oriented towards our community,” and can’t wait to get back to hands-on work.
For more information on MEChA, follow their Instagram page @mecha.de.sdsu.